Animal Welfare (Sentience Bill) and Kept Animals Bill
Thank you for contacting me about animal welfare legislation, and carry-over motions.
The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill enshrines in domestic law the recognition that animals are sentient and creates an expert Animal Sentience Committee to review policy decisions relating to animal welfare. I am encouraged that the Bill has nearly completed its passage into law.
Introduced to Parliament in June 2021, the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill introduces new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds. The Government is reviewing consultation responses on further proposals to eliminate this illegal trade and aims to deliver the necessary secondary legislation alongside the passage of the Bill. In addition, the export of livestock and equines for slaughter and fattening from, or transiting through, Great Britain to anywhere outside the British Islands will be banned. The Bill will also ban keeping primates as pets and improve zoo regulations, as well as creating new police powers to protect livestock from dangerous dogs. Further, I am glad that a new offence of taking and detaining a dog was added to the Bill at Committee Stage in the House of Commons, with a power to extend to other pets, if necessary. This Bill has completed Committee Stage and will be back as soon as parliamentary time allows, with a carry-over motion being held on the 25 April.
Finally, I welcome that the Government is firmly committed to delivering one of the toughest bans in the world on the import of hunting trophies from nearly seven thousand endangered and threatened species. This will see the UK leading the way in protecting endangered animals and strengthening long-term conservation. I am glad that this too will be brought forward as soon as parliamentary time allows. I know that ministers are also looking to protect animals abroad, including those used in low welfare animal experiences.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.