Kept Animals Bill

My response to the Campaign for Greater Protection of Kept Animals


November 2022

Thank you for contacting me about the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill.


I am proud that the UK has consistently led the way on animal welfare, and it is right that we cement our status as a global leader by continuing to raise the bar.


I know that the Government is enhancing our world-leading standards with ambitious reforms, as outlined in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare.


I welcome the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act which completed its passage into law earlier this year. The bill enshrines recognition of animal sentience in domestic law, and will establish an expert-led Animal Sentience Committee to produce reports on the impact of policy decisions on animal welfare. 


The bill gives increased prison sentences for the most serious perpetrators of animal cruelty from the previous maximum of six months to up to five years. 


We know that there is more to do and that is why I am supporting the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill which will introduce landmark protections going even further for the protection of pets, livestock and kept wild animals


The Kept Animals Bill will strengthen domestic animal welfare protection for kept animals by delivering the Government’s manifesto commitments to end the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter, crack down on puppy smuggling, and ban the keeping of primates as pets. It will also update the Zoo Licensing Act, introduce a new pet abduction offence, and reform legislation covering to tackle livestock worrying. 


On the issue of puppy smuggling, the Bill reduces the number of pet dogs, cats and ferrets that can be moved under the pet travel rules that apply to non-commercial movements. This will prevent unscrupulous traders from exploiting pet travel rules, making it harder to import large numbers of puppies into Great Britain.


The Bill includes a power to make regulations about the importation of pet animals into Great Britain for the purpose of promoting animal welfare. This will enable Ministers to go further in the future and explore measures such as increasing the minimum age that dogs can be moved into Great Britain, prohibiting the importation of heavily pregnant dams as well as banning the importing of dogs which have been subjected to low welfare practices such as ear cropping or tail docking.


I am aware that there is strong support for the Bill and I am assured that it will return to the House as soon as parliamentary time allows. 


I look forward to supporting the Bill through its parliamentary passage.


Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.


Sir Peter Bottomley MP