Welfare and vets groups have welcomed the Queen’s Speech, which announced the Government will bring forward legislation to ensure the UK has the highest standards of animal welfare.
Plans include a crackdown on pet theft and puppy smuggling, and an improvement in microchipping practices.
Dogs Trust chief executive Owen Sharp said: “As set out in the proposed plans for the new parliamentary session there has been a commitment to cracking down on puppy smuggling, alongside promoting and protecting animal welfare more widely.
“For over six years we have been tirelessly lobbying the government to tackle the cruel puppy smuggling trade, so we’re thrilled they have finally listened to our concerns. During that time, we have rescued thousands of illegally imported puppies who have had the most traumatic start to their young lives and have come into our care in horrific conditions. It’s been a hard-won fight and a long time coming, but the battle is not over yet.”
But he did add: “For a change in the law that puts an end to the unnecessary suffering of puppies once and for all, the devil really will be in the detail.”
The British Veterinary Association, which represents more than 18,000 vets across the UK, has campaigned for change on a range of welfare issues related to pets, livestock and wildlife, many of which were covered in the new policy agenda and proposed legislation.
On measures to combat puppy smuggling Daniella Dos Santos, BVA senior vice president, said: “It’s really positive to see a cast-iron commitment to strengthen legislation against illegal imports of puppies. Vets see first-hand the tragic consequences resulting from puppies bred in deplorable conditions and taken away from their mothers at a very young age to undertake long, arduous journeys. They often suffer from disease, health problems and poor socialisation, leading to heartache and financial costs for the new owners. We need action as quickly as possible to end this cruel and exploitative trade, and look forward to seeing further details on the Government’s plans.”
And on a ban on private individuals keeping primates as pets, BVA junior vice president Justine Shotton, BVA junior vice president, added: “We’re delighted to see the ban moving closer to becoming a reality. Primates are long-lived, intelligent and socially complex animals, and as vets we have significant doubts as to whether their welfare needs could ever be met in a domestic setting.”
The RSPCA also welcomed the government’s action plan for animal welfare and urged them to ‘have courage’ in delivering it.
Chief executive Chris Sherwood applauded the plans to take action on more than a dozen animal issues which the public cared passionately about.