Firstly, the Government has committed to a series of reforms with the view of upholding our world-leading animal welfare. This has been outlined in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare.
The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act enshrines in domestic law the recognition that animals are sentient and creates an expert Animal Sentience Committee to review policy decisions relating to animal welfare.
The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill will also introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds. The Government is reviewing consultation responses on further proposals to eliminate this illegal trade and aims to deliver the necessary secondary legislation alongside the passage of the Bill. Alongside this the export of livestock and equines for slaughter and fattening from, or transiting through, Great Britain to anywhere outside the British Islands will be banned.
Additionally, the Kept Animals Bill will also ban keeping primates as pets and improve zoo regulations, as well as creating new police powers to protect livestock from dangerous dogs. A new offence of taking and detaining a dog was added to the Bill at Committee Stage in the House of Commons, with a power to extend to other pets if necessary. This Bill was carried over into the new parliamentary session and will return to the House as soon as parliamentary time allows.
Regarding trophy hunting, the Government is committed to delivering one of the toughest bans in the world on the import of hunting trophies from nearly seven thousand endangered and threatened species. This will see the UK leading the way in protecting endangered animals and strengthening long-term conservation. The Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill was recently introduced to Parliament and ministers are also looking to protect animals abroad, including those used in low welfare animal experiences.
Furthermore, the production of foie gras from ducks or geese using force feeding is rightly banned in the UK as it is incompatible with the UK’s welfare standards and ministers have committed to building a clear evidence base to inform decisions on the import or sale of foie gras.
Finally, fur is also banned in the UK, and has been for 20 years. There are already restrictions on some skin and fur products which may never be legally imported into the UK. The Government’s recent call for evidence to seek views and evidence on the current fur sector will be used to inform any future decisions on the fur trade.