News New Animal Welfare Bill A Crucial Milestone



New animal welfare bill ‘a crucial milestone’
8th June 2021

By Karen Pickwick

A new animal welfare bill, which includes plans to end live exports, has been published today.

Highlights of the Kept Animals Bill include a proposal to end live exports of animals, tougher regulations on the import of puppies, powers to restrict the import of dogs with cropped ears, a ban on keeping, breeding and trading primates as pets, more powers to protect livestock from dogs and greater regulation of zoos.

RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said: “This bill marks a crucial milestone in animal welfare as we are set to become the first country in Europe to ban the live export of animals for slaughter and fattening.

“We at the RSPCA, alongside many others including those who have been witness to the animals’ distress year in, year out, down at the ports, have campaigned for more than 50 years to end this practice, which causes unimaginable stress and suffering to animals.

“We are also thrilled to see measures to crack down on the import of puppies; this is a cruel trade where criminals get rich selling sick and dying puppies to unsuspecting families, a trade which has boomed during lockdown…


“This is a really important time for animal welfare and, if we get it right, we can make real and lasting changes to the lives of animals here and abroad.”

The RSPCA has welcomed regulations to limit the number of dogs an individual or vehicle can bring into the UK, along with proposals to increase the age of imported puppies and banning the import of pregnant dogs.

The trade has boomed during lockdown, with annual statistics released by APHA  in February showing the number of dogs imported into the country for commercial reasons from the EU increased by 52% from 39,562 in 2019 to 60,190 in 2020; while the number of imports from Romania alone increased by 67% from 19,489 to 32,525 and now represent more than half (54%) of all EU imports.

The RSPCA has also also ‘cautiously welcomed’ proposals in the bill to change the current laws on livestock worrying and to improve zoo standards and looks forward to working with Defra on the fine details.