Rural-Urban Dimensions of the British Illegal Puppy Trade

Jennifer Maher, Tanya Wyatt

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Recently much attention has been given to the presence and increase of transnational and organised crime, with a particular focus on online illicit markets. While the rural to urban flow of illicit goods is documented (UNODC 2017), it is seldom the key focus. This paper details research on the illegal puppy trade, documenting the movement of puppies reared in irresponsible and/or illegal conditions in rural locations and then advertised online for the urban market. Through analysis of online advertisements in Scotland, expert interviews, and focus groups across Great Britain, we document the rural-urban dynamic of an overlooked transnational illicit market; a market facilitated by neo-liberalism and speciesism. While estimates on the value of the trade are problematic, the snapshot of online sales in Scotland, alone, suggests a marketplace with an annual value of L13 million (17,680 puppies). The cost of animal suffering associated with this trade is incalculable. Awareness must be raised and regulation and enforcement improved to reduce suffering and transnational criminals from profiting. This rural-urban dynamic presents a global challenge and demands an international response.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2018
Event18th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology: Crimes Against Humans and Crimes Against Humanity Implications for Modern Criminolog - University of Sarajevo, Sarajevo , Bosnia and Herzegovina
Duration: 29 Aug 20181 Sept 2018


Conference18th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology
Abbreviated titleEuro Crime 2018
Country/TerritoryBosnia and Herzegovina
Internet address


  • green criminology; illegal puppy trade; rural-urban dimensions; animal harm; transnational illicit market


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