The British government has decided to ban third-party sales of puppies and kittens to improve animal welfare.

Animal Welfare Minister David Rutley said Sunday the ban “is part of our commitment to make sure the nation’s much-loved pets get the right start in life.”

The decision follows a public consultation that found widespread support for banning third-party sales.

The government says this will help crackdown on “puppy farms” and make it harder for unscrupulous dealers that disregard animal welfare.

Under the new measure, people wishing to adopt a puppy or kitten would have to deal directly with a breeder or a re-homing center, rather than pet shops or other commercial dealers.

Animal welfare groups praised the government measure as an important step forward.

Source: The Associated Press