The government has announced that the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill will not progress through Parliament any further.
The Bill, which covered a range of measures including pet theft and smuggling, worrying of livestock by companion animals and bans on the export of live animals, the import of dogs with cropped ears and keeping primates as pets, reached the Report stage in the House of Commons, but had stalled at that point.
The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was first introduced in June 2021, and was also announced as part of last year’s Queen’s Speech. It contained a variety a of measures that the Conservative party included as manifesto commitments in the 2019 election.
Environment minister Mark Spencer said the Bill was going to be scrapped because the Labour Party was going to “to play political games” with the legislation, thought to refer to extending its reach to widen the ban on hunting. In response, the Labour Party said it backs strengthening the ban on hunting but had “no plans” to add any such amendment to this bill.
Spencer said the government would be implementing some of the measures individually before the next election, through means such as statutory instruments and Private Members’ Bills, rather than in one piece of legislation.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) called the cancellation of the Bill “extremely disappointing”.
BVA president Malcolm Morley said: “This crucial legislation, and the package of measures it contained, would have prevented the immeasurable suffering of thousands of animals, by tackling puppy smuggling, the importation of dogs with cropped ears, live animal exports and the keeping of primates as pets.
“However, the government has today committed to taking forward some of these individual measures. These are important animal welfare issues which both the veterinary profession and the public want to see resolved, and we will continue to lobby government to ensure they are enacted in law.”