To kick off the new Parliamentary Session, the Government are launching our new Action Plan for Animal Welfare, which sets out the Government’s plans on animal welfare for this Parliament and beyond.
We are a nation of animal lovers and Mid Sussex encapsulates this – whether its farm animals, pets, or animals in the wild, we know how vital animals are to the world around us, and the joy they give so many. Our own dog, TJ, is a loved part of our family and any legislation which seeks to strengthen protections for animals will always have my full support.
For the benefit of constituents, I have split this Action Plan up in to five different sections:
Sentience and Enforcement
- The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill
- This will recognise and enshrine animal sentience in law
- It will also create an expert committee on animal sentience to report on government decisions, holding Ministers accountable to Parliament for animal welfare in policy making, in a targeted and proportionate way
- In addition, we will support more legislation to improve enforcement – such as the use of penalty notices
International Trade and Advocacy
- We will not compromise on our high animal welfare standards in trade negotiations
- We will use our position as a global leader for international advocacy on animal welfare
- Legislation will be introduced to ban the import of hunting trophies from endangered animals abroad, to ban the import and export of detached shark fins, and to stop the advertising and sale here of unacceptable animal attractions abroad
- We will explore next steps on the fur and 'foie gras' trades and implement the Ivory Act
- As part of protecting and enhancing the welfare of farm animals, we will end the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening
- Our upcoming consultation on food labelling will consider reforms to make it easier for consumers to purchase food which aligns with their welfare values
- We will support livestock farmers financially via our ‘Animal Health and Welfare Pathway’
- Further reforms in this area include introducing effective powers to tackle ‘livestock worrying’ and considering other improvements to welfare on the farm, such as examining the use of cages for poultry and farrowing crates for pigs
Pets and Sporting Animals
- We will bring forward legislation to tackle the trade in puppy smuggling and introduce compulsory cat microchipping
- Our cross-Government Pet Theft Taskforce will crack down on pet theft: https://www.mimsdavies.org.uk/news/government-launches-pet-theft-taskforce
- We will also take forward wider reforms, such as:
- The licensing of animal sanctuaries
- Consider improvements for racing greyhounds and equine identification
- Keeping primates as pets will be prohibited by law
- We will consider further legislation for a close season for hares whilst cracking down on the illegal practice of hare coursing
- We will improve standards for zoos, including in relation to their conservation activities
- We will also consider restricting the use of glue traps for pest control
- We will bring forward measures to tackle wildlife crime
Now we have left the EU, we have the opportunity to go further than ever in protecting our beloved animals. In areas that were previously under the jurisdiction of EU law, we can now more freely make our own reforms and fulfil our manifesto commitments on animal welfare.
Following the launch of the Action Plan, my colleague, the DEFRA Secretary, George Eustice MP, said:
“We are a nation of animal lovers and were the first country in the world to pass animal welfare laws. Our Action Plan for Animal Welfare will deliver on our manifesto commitment to ban the export of live animal exports for slaughter and fattening, prohibit keeping primates as pets and bring in new laws to tackle puppy smuggling.
“We will lead on the protection of animals abroad by implementing the world’s toughest ivory ban and banning the import of hunting trophies to protect iconic species. As an independent nation we are now able to go further than ever to build on our excellent track record.”
We have an ambitious programme of legislation in the upcoming year which will deliver all of the Government’s manifesto commitments on animal welfare – I will be updating constituents as these various, crucial pieces of legislation progress through Westminster, while all non-legislative work will be progressing in parallel.
For more information please visit the following link: UK to lead the way on animal welfare through flagship new Action Plan - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)