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Last Updated: Monday May 16 2005 19:49 GMT

Age for buying pets could go up

A boy with his dog
Children in Scotland might have to wait til they're 16 before they can buy pets if a planned new law goes through.

Some ministers want the age that kids can buy animals to go up from 12 to 16 as they think that 12 is too young for some people to look after pets.

The proposal would also ban people giving animals away as prizes in competitions, as there is no guarantee they will go to a good home.

"I want animal suffering to be a thing of the past in Scotland," one MP said.

One of the people behind the plans, environment minister Ross Finnie, said he also wanted the government to be able to take quick action against people believed to be hurting their pets.

Guinea pigs are popular pets
"When people do not comply with this we will be able to remove the animal before it starts to suffer," he said.


"Other measures such as raising the minimum age for buying a pet and banning the giving of pets as prizes give the clear message that owning a pet is a responsibility and commitment that must be understood and thought through."

He has asked everyone against animal cruelty to back the plans, called the Animal Health and Welfare Bill.

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