The UK Government has Launched a Second Animal Welfare Bill

Posted 2 Years Ago

The government's recent announcement is the second piece of legislation introduced in less than a month that aims to drive better standards of animal welfare through a wide range of measures. It follows the launch of the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill in May, which “formally recognises animals as sentient beings in domestic law”.

The UK Government has Launched a Second Animal Welfare Bill

animal rights

The Government’s Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill includes new legislation that raises welfare standards for wild animals, livestock and pets in five key areas.

  • New powers are being brought in to tackle the puppy smuggling trade as demand for dogs continues to soar. The Government is considering both a reduction in the number of pets permitted to travel and additional restrictions on the movement of animals in general. The plans are to increase the minimum age of imported puppies and to place restrictions on the movement of pregnant dogs, as well as dogs with cosmetic mutilations.
  • The UK Government is now free to pursue animal welfare plans that were previously prevented under EU legislation. One example being to ban the export of livestock for slaughter and fattening. The UK will become the first country in Europe to end this practise and to put a stop to the unnecessary suffering of animals during export.

  • The Government will deliver on its manifesto promise to introduce a ban on keeping primates as pets. These animals are highly intelligent with incredibly complex needs that can’t be met in a home environment. The RSPCA have been “calling for a complete ban on the keeping and trade of primates as pets” for some time. The new animal welfare bill will ensure that any primates currently being kept privately are kept at zoo-level standards.
  • Increased powers will enable the police to provide greater protection to livestock by gathering evidence in relation to dangerous and out of control dogs, and, in serious cases, seizing and detaining dogs to reduce the risk of further incidents. The new animal welfare bill also extends this protection to a number of other species, including llamas, ostriches and game birds.
  • Finally, The Zoo Licensing Act will be revised in order to improve the standards of modern zoo practice and ensure that zoos are playing their part in the conservation of wildlife.

The UK Government’s World Leading Record on Animal Welfare

Environment Secretary George Eustice comments on the new legislation: “As an independent nation outside the EU we are now able to go further than ever on animal welfare by banning the export of live animal exports for slaughter and fattening, prohibiting keeping primates as pets and bringing in new powers to tackle puppy smuggling.”

The UK Government is committed to improving its already world-leading standards by delivering this series of ambitious reforms, as well as a series of further reforms relating to microchipping, pet theft, farm animal welfare and wildlife crime, as outlined in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare.