The RSPCA hails what it calls “a landmark week” for animal welfare as three long-fought new animal protection measures become law.
The use of glue traps, condemned by campaigners as ‘crude devices which cause horrible suffering’, will be banned in England – albeit with two loopholes.
The first is that the sale of traps will always be legal. Humane Society UK said that although the sale of glue traps could not also be unilaterally banned in England without the same ban in the other three UK countries, it would write to retailers in England urging them to withdraw from selling traps that will no longer be legal to use.
The other loophole is that pest control professionals will be able to apply for licenses to use the traps, which leaves rodents, birds and pets suffering from stress, exhaustion, dehydration or injury for hours. or days as they struggle to break free.
Meanwhile, people who fail to properly care for their pets, zoo animals and livestock could face new fines of up to £5,000.
Under the new legislation, fines could be imposed on pet breeders who fail to microchip puppies before rehoming them, horse owners tying animals in a way that neglects their basic needs, or farmers transporting cattle that are not fit to travel.
Fixed penalty notices are meant to “bridge the gap” between offering advice and prosecuting, and the idea is that they should reduce the pressure on the courts.
The police will be able to issue fines, but not the RSPCA.
Meanwhile, the Animal Welfare (Feeling) Bill, which also won Royal Assent, will require ministers to take into account that animals experience feelings and emotions when making decisions policies.
The government sparked controversy when it failed to transpose the sensitivity of EU law into UK law after Brexit.
A new Animal Sensitivity Committee of experts will be set up to hold the government to account for the extent to which its decisions have taken animal welfare into account, issuing reports for ministers to answer to Parliament.
Emma Slawinski of the RSPCA said: “It’s been a good week for animal welfare; the RSPCA has long campaigned on glue traps, animal sentience and fixed fines.
“We are now urging the government to introduce import bans on foie gras and fur, and for them to implement the Kept Animals Bill so that exports of live animals for slaughter , the breeding of primates as pets and the cruel puppy import trade can also be banned once and for all. »
The Kept Animals Bill is expected to continue its passage via a deferral motion in the next parliamentary session.
However, the government appears to have abandoned the Animals Abroad Bill, which would have banned the importation of foie gras and fur, and banned advertisements for cruel animal attractions abroad.