The new legislation on Animal Welfare named the “Kept Animals: bill had its second reading in the house of commons on the 25th October 2021 and hopefully is making good progress to becoming law.

The new Law would cover

  1. For farmed animals, the Bill prohibits the export of live cattle, sheep, pigs and goats and equines for slaughter, including for fattening for subsequent slaughter. The Bill repeals and replaces the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 to improve enforcement in response to the most serious incidents of livestock worrying by dogs.
  2. For companion animals, the Bill seeks to address the issue of illegal imports, by introducing an enabling power to apply restrictions to imports of certain pet animals (dogs, cats and ferrets) on welfare grounds through secondary legislation. The Bill also decreases the number of pets that can travel in a single non-commercial movement.
  3. For kept wild animals, the Bill prohibits the keeping, breeding, sale and transfer of primates without a specific primate licence to ensure that they are kept to a high welfare standard that reflects their specific welfare needs. The Bill also amends the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 to increase penalties for non-compliance and provide local authorities with better tools for enforcement to ensure zoo operators comply with the Secretary of State’s Standards of Modern Zoo Practice. The Bill also amends the above Act to enable the Secretary of State to specify the standards for the conservation requirements that zoos must comply with.

Boarding Kennels

There is also a push to close a loophole for the boarding of dogs in rescue centres, for over a decade our stray dogs were kept in licenced premises, until new legislation came into force: the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. Strangely it has recently been deemed illegal, to keep stray dogs in licensed boarding kennels!

We applied for a licence in June, submitting our fee and documentation to have our kennels licenced. It took until May the following year for the Licensing Authority to conclude they could not licence stray dogs in boarding kennels, refunded our application fee and returned our documentation.

Stray dogs all over England have been forced out of licensed boarding kennels, because of a loophole in legislation, thankfully many like ourselves continue to operate to license standards.

We would like to see the loophole in Boarding Kennel legislation closed and ask that you campaign your local Member of Parliament to do this under the new Kept Animal legislation.

Pet theft

An Action Plan also promises to tackle the issue of pet theft. A new Pet Theft Taskforce has been set up to investigate the reported increase in these crimes and draw up action to address the problem.

Pet theft isn’t a new issue but given the high demand for dogs in recent months and the increase in prices, it is no wonder criminals have been taking advantage of the situation.

We would like to see tougher penalties to act as a deterrent to pet thieves, pet theft treated as a specific crime that reflects the emotional trauma it causes and more accurate recording of incidents by the police so the scale of the problem can be seen.

To find out more about the Government’s plan, read the full Action Plan for Animal Welfare here.