Petition Find the time to take the Kept Animals Bill through Parliament and make it law

Hundreds of thousands of people signed numerous petitions calling for actions that the Government has included in the Kept Animals Bill. The Government should urgently find time to allow the Bill to complete its journey through Parliament and become law.

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The Government promised to find time to take this bill through the next parliamentary stages so it can receive Royal Assent and become law, yet we are still waiting. For the Government to live up to its claims to be leading the way in animal welfare there must be no further delay to this legislation becoming law.

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Government responded

This response was given on 12 August 2022

The Kept Animals Bill was reintroduced in May 2022 and will continue its passage through the Commons when parliamentary time allows.

The Government has made a clear commitment to raising animal welfare standards and set this out in our Action Plan for Animal Welfare. This lays out all of our proposed animal welfare and conservation reforms, including those in the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill (“the Kept Animals Bill”).

The Kept Animals Bill was reintroduced following the Queen’s Speech in May 2022 and will progress to Report stage in the Commons as soon as parliamentary time allows. It was introduced in the previous Session, and it is not unusual for some bills to be carried over to the next Session to ensure sufficient time is allowed to fully scrutinise their provisions.

The Bill delivers key manifesto commitments to end the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter, crack down on puppy smuggling, and ban the keeping of primates as pets. It will also update the Zoo Licensing Act 1981, introduce a new pet abduction offence following the work of the Pet Theft Taskforce and reform legislation to tackle livestock worrying which goes back to the 1950s.

Work to implement the measures in the Bill has not stopped: we have consulted publicly on the use of powers in the Bill to tackle illegal puppy smuggling; we have launched a targeted consultation with the zoo sector on our updated zoo standards; we are working with enforcement partners including the police and local authorities to develop guidance for enforcing the new legislation; and we are preparing the secondary legislation required under the Bill to minimise any delays to implementing these measures following Royal Assent.

It’s just part of the Government’s ambitious plans to improve animal welfare standards at home and abroad, as set out in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare. Since its publication in May 2021, we have made significant progress in taking forward these reforms:

- the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022 became law in the last Session, and we are in the process of setting up the Animal Sentience Committee to advise the Government on policies that impact on the welfare of animals;

- we have taken on board the recommendations of the Pet Theft Taskforce and added a new offence of pet abduction to the Kept Animals Bill;

- we have announced we will make cat microchipping compulsory and we are updating the dog microchipping regulations;

- we have introduced new powers for police and courts to tackle the illegal and cruel sport of hare coursing through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022;

- the Ivory Act 2018 came into force in June 2022 to ensure protection for elephants; and

- we have backed bills to increase the maximum penalties for animal cruelty offences from six months to five years imprisonment, introduce penalty notices for animal welfare offences and to ban glue traps, all of which have received Royal Assent.

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

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