I have campaigned on multiple animal welfare rights including the banning of circus animals, campaigning for animal sentience, longer sentences for those convicted of animal abuse and was pleased at the introduction of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which was introduced into the House of Commons on 8 June 2021, but no date has yet been set for its Second Reading.
The Bill is set out as follows:
Part 1 of the Bill deals with the keeping of primates, introducing requirements for a licence to keep primates in England, and making it an offence to sell, gift or transfer a primate to another person who does not already hold a licence, or to breed from a primate under their care without a relevant licence. People convicted of such an offence will be liable to a fine or be issued with a fixed penalty notice.
Part 2 of the Bill prohibits the export of “relevant livestock” from Great Britain, subject to a penalty of imprisonment, a fine or both (applies in England, Scotland and Wales although the maximum duration of imprisonment may vary). Relevant livestock is described in the Bill as bulls, cows, heifers, calves, buffalo, bison, horses, ponies, donkeys, asses, hinnies, mules, zebras, sheep, goats, pigs and wild boar.
Part 3 also introduces powers for the Secretary of State to make regulations about the importation of dogs, cats and ferrets into Great Britain on the grounds of animal welfare. This includes the possibility to do so for animals below a prescribed age, those who have been mutilated (e.g., dogs with cropped ears), or those which are heavily pregnant.
I look forward to scrutinising it to ensure that it goes far enough in its proposals.
In Feb this year I joined the Puppy Smuggling Taskforce and support Dogs Trust in their efforts to raise awareness of and tackle the abhorrent puppy smuggling trade.
I have spoken extensively before on animal welfare in Parliament, including putting this question to the department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on having animal welfare inspectors.
and again I have written to this department to hold the Government to account on the number of animals transported to mainland Europe for slaughter.
The Labour Party is an adamant supporter of animal rights in the UK, with Labour securing the Animal Welfare Act for domestic animals.
The last Labour manifesto set out a vision “where no animal is made to suffer unnecessary pain and degradation and where we continue to drive up standards and practice in line with the most recent advances and understanding.”
As well as supporting a high welfare future for farming and a ban on the use of cages by 2025.
The Labour Animal Welfare manifesto also states:
‘Labour will ban people from keeping pet primates as part of our plans to bring Britain’s animal welfare laws into the 21st century.’ ‘Labour said an estimated 5,000 primates are being kept as pets in the UK, but they are highly intelligent animals and not suitable to be kept in captivity.’
During my time as an MP, I have questioned Government ministers several times on Animal Welfare, these can be seen at:
As I am now a Shadow Minister (Tourism & Heritage) I am no longer permitted to sign Early Day Motions, but previous to my time in the Shadow Cabinet I signed numerous relating to Animal Welfare, see a selection below:
As your MP, I will continue to do all I can to stand up for animal rights.
All details are correct at date of publication