Government prioritizes animal welfare legislation in annual plans

The Government today (10 May) confirmed it is pushing ahead with plans to introduce new legislation on welfare and puppy smuggling in the coming 12 months.

Although not referred to directly in the Queen’s Speech delivered by Prince Charles today (10 May), an Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill is one of 38 pieces of new legislation the Government intends to take forward in the coming year.

Bill readings

The bill has already gone through its first and second readings in the House of Commons, as well as the committee report stage, and will be scheduled for a third reading.

Among other things, the bill proposes prohibiting export of livestock for slaughter, implementing powers to restrict importation of pets, making stealing a dog an offence, reviewing zoo standards and banning the keeping of primates.


The BVA, which has long campaigned for action in several areas covered in the bill, had been urging the Government to prioritize its commitments to improving animal health and welfare, deeming moves had stalled in the preceding year.

It is disappointed plans to ban the import and sale of fur and foie gras – which would have been introduced via an Animals Abroad Bill – were not included in today’s announcements.


Justine Shotton, BVA president, said: “We’re disappointed that animal welfare did not 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.

“This crucial and long-awaited piece of legislation promises to bring in a cross-species suite of measures that will improve the lives of billions of animals.

“The bill pledges to tackle issues our members have identified as some of the most pressing animal health and welfare issues of our times, and the impact of the pandemic on long-standing 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. ”


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