Closed petition Make the consumption of dog and cat meat illegal

We would like our country to join in setting an example to the world and follow the US and Germany by making the consumption of dog and cat meat illegal.

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It may seem extraordinary, but consuming dog and cat meat is currently not illegal in the UK. Luckily, there is no evidence that dogs or cats are being eaten in the UK to date, but there are no current laws against this.

We know that there has been no documented cases of this in the UK, but it is important to set an example so we can encourage other countries to make animal welfare laws. With this ban, we can help make changes worldwide and join other countries and cities (US, Taiwan, Hong Kong etc) that have already made this illegal.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Government responded

This response was given on 20 May 2021

The UK’s relationship with companion animals already sets a strong moral example for others. Laws exist to prohibit dogs or cats from entering the food system and further safeguard their welfare.

Read the response in full

The Government shares the public’s high regard for animal welfare. We have a proud history of championing and taking action on animal welfare in this country and recently published a wide-reaching and ambitious plan to set out our current and future work in this area: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/action-plan-for-animal-welfare

We are appalled by the prospect of dog and cat meat being consumed and have already taken steps in relation to this issue. There are strict rules for food businesses on slaughter and production of meat for human consumption in the UK and dog or cat meat would not be permitted under these requirements. We also have specific laws on the sale of food in England which are enforced under the Novel Foods Regulation 2018. These regulations make it an offence to sell dog or cat meat in England.

The U.S. Government has adopted a similar approach by prohibiting the slaughter of cats and dogs for human consumption, rather than banning the consumption of their meat. A similar ban on slaughter had been in place in Taiwan since 1998. It was the persistence of an underground commercial trade in dog and cat meat which led the Taiwanese Government to take additional steps to ban the consumption of their meat.

In summary, it is already illegal for dogs and cats to be commercially slaughtered or sold for human consumption, and the Government has seen no evidence that dog or cat meat is being sold or consumed in this country. We therefore do not consider it necessary to introduce additional legislation to prohibit the consumption of this meat.

We are confident that the current position in this country reflects other international approaches and sends a clear message that the slaughter and consumption of dogs or cats will never be acceptable in the UK.

Robust laws exist to protect the welfare of companion animals (including dogs and cats). For example, the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 was recently granted Royal Assent. This realises the Government’s manifesto commitment to increase the sentences available to our courts for the most serious cases of animal cruelty. The Act will come into force on the 29 June 2021 providing one of the toughest sanctions in Europe and strengthening the UK's position as a global leader on animal welfare.

We also remain committed to further enhancing standards of animal welfare both at home and abroad. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office raises concerns about the welfare of animals with other Governments and international authorities at every suitable opportunity.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs