I would like to assure you that the Government is committed to upholding our world-leading animal welfare standards and to delivering a series of ambitious reforms, as outlined in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare.
The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 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 Act has now 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;
- keeping primates as pets will be banned;
- zoo regulations will be improved;
- new police powers to protect livestock from dangerous dogs will be created;
- a new offence of taking and detaining a dog, with a power to extend to other pets, if necessary was added to the Bill at Committee Stage.
This Bill has completed Committee Stage and will be back as soon as parliamentary time allows.
Finally, I welcome that my colleagues in government are 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 my colleagues are also looking to protect animals abroad, including those used in low welfare animal experiences.