Thank you to all those who have contacted me about animal welfare legislation.
I understand your concerns. Strengthening our animal welfare laws is a priority for the Opposition. People want to see us go further on animal welfare, putting our animals’ health first. All animals deserve protection.
I believe it is wrong to promise tougher legislation if promises are then not seen through.
I strongly welcome the long overdue Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act, as there is much scientific evidence that animals think, feel, experience pain and suffer. This legislation finished its parliamentary scrutiny and became law on 28 April 2022.
As you know, the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill would introduce a licensing system for keeping primates as pets, ban the live export of animals for fattening and slaughter, and allow the Government to make regulations about the importation of cats, dogs and ferrets into Great Britain. It was last scrutinised by Parliament on 18 November. I am pleased the Bill passed a carry-over motion which means scrutiny can continue in the new parliamentary year.
I have long supported banning live exports and the keeping of primates as pets, and toughening laws against puppy smuggling. During scrutiny, the Opposition tabled amendments to strengthen the Bill on these issues but disappointingly the Government voted these down.
The import of fur and fur products into the UK, a barbarous and unnecessary trade, should be banned at the earliest opportunity. I support a ban on foie gras imports, the production of which is rightly banned in the UK.
Additionally, I support ending the import of wild animal trophies from threatened species. Any ban should cover all species classed as vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered and extinct in the wild.
I further believe new laws must be the next step if the travel sector cannot meet the challenge of removing holidays and excursions that abuse animals.
It has been suggested these bans would be included in an Animals Abroad Bill. I am aware of media reports surrounding the future of the legislation. No legislation has been published, and it was not included in the Queen’s Speech for the new parliamentary session, but I will continue to follow any developments closely.
Thank you once again for contacting me on this important issue.