UK to lead the way on animal welfare with new flagship action plan


In a first of its kind, the government today released an Animal Welfare Action Plan that will revolutionize the treatment of animals in the UK and introduce measures to protect animal welfare abroad .

Now that we have left the EU, the UK has new freedoms to further strengthen animal welfare standards and strengthen its position as a global champion of animal rights.

The Animal Welfare Action Plan, launched today by Environment Secretary George Eustice, will build on our existing global standards by recognizing animals as sensitive in law and committing to adopt a range of new game-changing welfare measures to protect pets, livestock and wildlife. .

During a visit to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the Environment Secretary said the government would take a big step forward in animal welfare by officially recognizing animals as sentient beings through a new bill on animal sensitivity which will be presented to Parliament tomorrow (May 13). , placing animal welfare at the very heart of government policy-making.

Launching the plan, Environment Secretary George Eustice said:

We are a nation of animal lovers and were the first country in the world to pass animal welfare laws.

Our animal welfare action plan will meet our clear commitment to ban the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening, to ban the keeping of primates as pets and to ban introduce new laws to fight puppy trafficking.

We will lead the protection of animals abroad by implementing the world’s toughest ivory ban and banning the import of hunting trophies to protect iconic species. As an independent nation, we are now able to go further than ever by building on our excellent track record.

The Animal Welfare Action Plan also outlines how the government:

Improve animal welfare by:

  • fight against puppy trafficking by changing import rules
  • introduce the mandatory electronic chip for cats
  • tackle pet theft through new government task force
  • ban remote control training e-collars

Protect wild animals by:

  • make it illegal to keep primates as pets
  • introduce new laws to crack down on illegal hare racing
  • Supporting legislation to restrict the use of glue traps
  • funding of wildlife conservation projects both at home and abroad

Protect animals abroad by:

  • ban the importation of hunting trophies from endangered animals
  • ban the sale of ivory by enforcing the ivory law this year
  • ban the import and export of detached shark fins to protect the iconic shark species
  • explore a ban on the sale of foie gras
  • ban the advertising in this country of unacceptable animal practices with low welfare abroad – such as elephant rides

Improve the welfare of farm animals by:

  • end the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter
  • introduce new measures to improve well-being during transport
  • give the police more powers to protect farm animals from dangerous or uncontrollable dogs
  • review of the use of poultry cages and pig farrowing cages
  • improve animal welfare at slaughter
  • motivate farmers to improve animal health and welfare through a future agricultural policy

To implement these reforms, the government will in due course bring forward a series of bills focusing on animal sensitivity, animals raised here in the UK and animal welfare. There will also be a series of non-legislative changes to promote animal welfare over the coming months, with a number of regulations due to be tabled starting this year.

The government will also ensure that animal welfare is not compromised in all of our future trade negotiations.

The UK has a world record for animal welfare, and over the past decade the government has introduced a series of measures to ensure we provide animals with the care, respect and protection they deserve. This includes a ban on the use of battery cages for laying hens, the introduction of mandatory video surveillance in slaughterhouses, and an increase in the maximum penalty for cruelty to animals from six months to five years.

Chris Sherwood said, RSPCA CEO said:

These announcements will make a real and lasting difference to animal welfare, so we are delighted that the government is committed to improving the lives of animals in the UK and abroad. We can no longer ignore the inextricable link between the way we treat animals, our own health and that of the planet – but to truly achieve radical change will take courage from across government.

We urge the government to put animal welfare at the heart of policy making and to make these announcements the start of an evolving and holistic animal health and welfare strategy.

Peter Laurie, Managing Director of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, said:

Battersea warmly welcomes the new Animal Welfare Action Plan. Every dog ​​and cat deserves to be safe from harm, which means cracking down on those animals that sell illegally and under poor welfare conditions, being proactive in protecting owners from the devastation of loss or theft their pets, and do everything we can to reunite them. .

Our pets are not only sentient beings, but highly valued members of the family and we support all measures that will protect them from unnecessary suffering and reassure dog and cat owners now and in the future.

Claire Bass, Executive Director of Humane Society International / UK, said:

We are very happy to see so many animal protection commitments brought to light by the government through this action plan. Britain is proud to be a nation of animal and animal lovers suffering both at home and abroad for food, fur, entertainment, the pet trade and more , deserves this proactive program.

Carrying out the plan will require real understanding and commitment on Whitehall’s part. Respecting animal welfare is not only the right thing to do for animals, it will also play a vital role in addressing global environmental and public health challenges such as climate change, resistance to antibiotics and pandemic prevention.

Since 2010, the government has also made microchipping mandatory for dogs to help reunite lost dogs with their owners and introduced additional protection for service animals by introducing “Finnish law”. Last year the government introduced Lucy’s Law to combat puppy breeding by prohibiting the commercial sale of puppies and kittens to third parties. In 2019, the government also banned the use of wild animals in circuses.

Recognizing the links between animal health and welfare and the health of our planet, the government is also working closely with industry to transform future agricultural policy through the Animal health and welfare routes which will forge a new agreement between government and farmers to promote healthier and more well-being animals. The Pathway will pay farmers to improve animal health and welfare, reduce carbon emissions and slow the rise in antimicrobial resistance.

The full animal welfare action plan can be accessed here.

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