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Government drop Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill Published Date: 29/05/2023

A Bill aimed at banning live animal exports and introducing powers to tackle puppy smuggling has been dropped by the government. The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill aimed to raise animal welfare standards in five key areas:

  • Tighter pet transport rules to stop 'puppy smuggling'
  • A ban on the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening - and the UK would have been the first European country to do so
  • A ban on keeping primates as pets
  • More powers for police to stop dogs harming animals
  • Stricter rules for zoos

Environment Minister Mark Spencer is reported to have said measures in the Kept Animal Bill would now be delivered "in different ways".

The Conservative 2019 manifesto promised to bring in new laws to protect animal welfare, including tougher sentences for animal cruelty.

Mr Spencer insisted these commitments will be kept by introducing the measures individually before the next general election - expected by the end of 2024.

He also announced the launch of a new animal sentience committee, and a consultation on new financial penalties of up to £5,000 for those who commit offences against animals.

However Claire Bass, of Humane Society International/UK, said the bill "needed only a few more hours in the Commons to succeed, so parliamentary time is clearly not the real issue here".

"The real reason, Whitehall sources tell us, that the bill has been dropped is because of concerns that it could act as a vehicle for uncomfortable debates that the government does not want held on polarising issues such as hunting with dogs."