I WANT to wish a Happy New Year to all Argus readers and all those who live in my area. This is the time when many of us look forward and think about what we want to achieve over the year ahead.

Whether it’s getting fitter or being nicer to those around us, I’m sure most of us have a New Year’s resolution in mind. For the Welsh Government, I suggest that their New Year’s resolution should be to have a little more ambition.

Just before Christmas, the Welsh Assembly voted on new dog breeding regulations. Before the debate I received several hundred emails from dog lovers asking me to support their introduction. They hoped that new regulations would finally end puppy farming in Wales. However, I could not bring myself to back regulations that are just not good enough.

Puppy farming is animal cruelty on an industrial scale. Dogs on puppy farms are often kept in shockingly poor conditions that cause lifelong problems with their behaviour and health. It is heart-breaking, but not surprising, that one in five dogs born on a puppy farm will die within the first six months, leaving their new families devastated.

It is shameful that Wales is known as the puppy farming capital of the UK. The reputation of dog breeders in Wales is so poor that they have argued that puppies should not have to be microchipped because if consumers know that a puppy is Welsh, they will not buy it. This seemed to convince the Welsh Government not to introduce microchipping regulations. It is appalling that an industry with such an awful reputation has such an influence on this Government.

The Welsh Government should make ending cruel puppy farming a priority. Instead they’ve introduced regulations that lack teeth. Those breeding in an ethical fashion will already be exceeding these requirements by a mile and, with little reassurance that enforcement will improve, I doubt that unethical breeders will change their ways.

The danger is that these regulations will enshrine insufficient standards into law, letting the Government and local authorities off the hook from taking further action. It is not good enough to say that these regulations are better than none, we must have more ambition than that.

I can’t help but feel that if puppies in Wales had the vote, us Assembly Members would all be out.