The US has banned puppy mills from exporting in an unprecedented move aimed at cracking down on a lucrative industry that caters to pet lovers and exporters in the United States.
The US Food and Drug Administration said on Monday it would ban the pet-loving firms from selling puppies in the US.
It will also prohibit the companies from selling animals in the country.
The ban follows a decision by the US State Department in March to ban pet-selling firms in China, a move that came after the country’s government said it was cracking down against “pet-related” crime.
Pet-loving dog owners say the crackdown on the industry has failed to stem a growing trade in animals used for human consumption, with puppy mills producing hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats each year.
The puppies and cats are then sold for profit to pet-oriented businesses in China and elsewhere in the world.
“Today, we are taking another step in our campaign to end the puppy mill industry,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.
“This is the first of many steps that will be taken to end pet dog farming.”
The FDA said it would begin issuing licenses for the importation of animal products in the next 90 days.
The agency is also proposing a series of measures that will prohibit the import of pet dogs and puppies for human use in China.
The rules are designed to help prevent animal abuse and neglect, and will be enforced with penalties of up to $1,000 per dog and up to 10,000 for each dog and puppy.
The regulations will take effect on September 1, 2019, according to a statement by the FDA.