News Only Partial Welcome To Queen S Speech

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Only partial welcome to Queen’s Speech
11th May 2022

By David Rees
Campaigners have given a mixed response to proposed animal welfare legislation in this week’s Queen’s Speech.
 
While the speech made no specific mention of animal welfare, the accompanying legislative programme confirmed that the Kept Animals Bill will continue its passage into law via a carryover motion in the next parliamentary session. The Bill, which has been delayed due to lack of parliamentary time, is currently in its report stage, after which it will have its third reading in the House of Commons before going on to the House of Lords for further debate.
 
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) welcomed the Government’s commitment to the legislation, which comprises a range of measures such as new penalties for dog theft and puppy smuggling, restrictions on the importation of dogs, cats and ferrets, and a ban on keeping primates as pets. 
 
BVA President Justine Shotton said: “We’re disappointed that animal welfare didn’t get a mention in the Queen’s Speech itself, but at least reassured that the carryover motion cements plans to finally get the Kept Animals Bill over the line and into law.
 
“The Bill pledges to tackle issues which our members have identified as some of most pressing animal health and welfare issues of our times, and the impact of the pandemic on longstanding concerns such as puppy smuggling has only added to this urgency.  BVA urges the Government to bring this vital Bill into law as a top priority in the upcoming parliamentary session.”
 
However, proposals to ban the import and sale of fur and foie gras, which would have been introduced via an Animals Abroad Bill, were not in the Speech and appear to have been abandoned.
 
A coalition of thirty-eight animal welfare organisations responded to this omission with “dismay and frustration”.
 
Speaking on behalf of the #DontBetrayAnimals campaign, Emma Slawinski, director of advocacy and policy at the RSPCA, said:  “We are deeply dismayed that the Government has gone back on its word to prioritise animal welfare by abandoning the Animals Abroad Bill, so that animal protection laws such as bans on imports of foie gras and fur will no longer go ahead, nor will bans on adverts for animal tourism practices involving cruelty such as elephant riding and tricks.”