Readers’ letters - November 16

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Illegal and cruel puppy trade needs to end now

With just six weeks to go until Christmas, Dogs Trust is urging people not to fuel a cruel puppy trade – albeit unintentionally – by purchasing an illegally imported puppy.

The warning comes after a record number of puppies were seized in just one week during a covert operation at the UK border, with many more expected to be smuggled into the country undetected as devious importers hone in on the Christmas trade.

As the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, we exposed the horrors of the illegal importation of puppies earlier this year as the demand for in-trend breeds such as French Bulldogs and Pugs continue to help fuel this sickening trade. We’ve seen cases of bitches being smuggled across pregnant as importers find sinister new ways to get them through the border undetected.

Despite many people’s purchases being well intended, unbeknown to them, the internet has become a thriving marketplace for advertising illegally imported puppies.

As a result, we’ve produced some buyer advice to help people make sensible choices and avoid being tricked into buying puppies which have been illegally imported from Central and Eastern Europe.

Illegally importing puppies needs to end now.

We urge the Government to improve this failing legislation.

This includes increasing penalties for those illegally importing puppies and a significant overhaul of the pet checking system at ports.

Members of the public can support our campaign by visiting www.puppy
smuggling.org.uk.

Paula Boyden

Veterinary director, Dogs Trust

Together for Doctors

A new survey conducted amongst senior hospital doctors, GPs, trainees and charity supporters alarmingly finds that two-thirds of respondents would not recommend medicine as a career to their children, despite the fact that traditionally it’s been a family career throughout generations.

The survey was released by The Royal Medical Benevolent Fund (RMBF), a charity which helps doctors, medical students and their families, as part of their new Together for Doctors campaign.

Whilst the majority of doctors said that they would still study medicine given their time again, 92 per cent think that working conditions in UK hospitals have deteriorated in the past decade, and 93 per cent are concerned by the number of doctors choosing to leave the profession.

Despite the ‘bravado’ culture that is seen to prevail in medicine – a culture which places value on the ability to work under pressure and cope with long hours – rising targets and demands on resources are taking their toll.

Of the 1,800 individuals that took part in the survey, 93 per cent think that hospital doctors are forced into uncomfortable decisions due to current pressures in the NHS such as discharging patients early to free up beds.

It is vital that we listen to those on the front line before it is too late.

Together for Doctors aims to raise awareness of the need to offer support to doctors throughout the UK who are working under increasing difficulty and scrutiny, as well as encouraging doctors themselves to come forward and seek help when they need it.

Doctors work tirelessly to support us all in our times of need, yet worryingly many feel unable to ask for help when things aren’t going well for them. We know that there are many more doctors in this country who could benefit from the RMBF’s help.

I hope that by talking openly about these issues we can encourage more people in need of support to come forward.

To find out more about the RMBF or to help fundraise, visit www.rmbf.org – your money could help a doctor and their family to rebuild their lives after illness or an accident.

Professor Dame Parveen Kumar DBE

President

Royal Medical Benevolent Fund