A leading animal rights charity is calling on the UK Government to do more to protect pets from abuse.
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has launched a petition and is urging people to sign it and write to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to call for the Kept Animals Bill to be brought back to Parliament as soon as possible after months of stalling.
Michael Webb, head of Policy and Public Affairs at Battersea, said: “It is deeply concerning that the Government has continued to fail to commit to a clear timetable to ensure the progress of this Bill. Time is running out, and the harm to animals that this legislation could help counter is still going on.
“We’re urging our supporters to write to the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, and call for the Kept Animals Bill to be brought back to Parliament as urgently as possible. The Bill is essential to improving animal welfare in the UK. It would make dog abductions a specific offence in law, and enable the closure of loopholes allowing the importation of dogs and cats with horrific mutilations.
“Many of these animals are being smuggled into the country in dangerous conditions, completely off radar and forgotten about.
“With progress stalled, we need your support to break the deadlock. Help us convince the Prime Minister that the Bill must be prioritised as a matter of urgency.
”What is the animal welfare bill?
The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill will look at addressing several significant animal health and welfare issues that are not covered by the law at present.
Under the bill, issues will be tackled including puppy smuggling, dog thefts, prohibiting the import of dogs with cropped ears, and a review of zoo standards across the UK.
[This is a] golden opportunity to improve the health and welfare of billions of animals
British Veterinary Association
Why is it important?
There are currently no laws to protect animals to the level these powers would. Five areas are being looked at specifically. Under the plans, the Government will introduce new powers to tackle the unethical trade of puppy smuggling by reducing the number of pets (dogs, cats, and ferrets) that can travel under pet travel rules. It will also make stealing a pet illegal. At the moment, your pet is considered an item of property.
It will also put bans on exporting live animals for slaughter, and will become the first European country to end the practice, seen as unnecessary cruelty.
Primates will also be banned from being kept as pets and more protection will be given to farmed animals, with police given extra powers to combat dangerous and out-of-control dogs.
What has been the delay?
The Kept Animals Bill was first introduced in the House of Commons on June 2, 2021 and carried over into the 2021-22 Parliamentary session, with its remaining stages scheduled for September 19, 2022.
The date was cancelled after the death of the Queen, and progress of the Bill has since stalled.
Who else supports the animal welfare bill?
As well as Battersea, a whole host of animal rights campaigners support the introduction of the Bill. The Dogs Trust and the RSPCA have encouraged the move, while one of the loudest supporters, the British Veterinary Association, labelled it as a “golden opportunity to improve the health and welfare of billions of animals”.
A spokesman said: “We are urging the Government not to let this important piece of legislation slip through the net.”
What animals are covered by the welfare bill?
The new Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill will improve welfare standards for a wide range of animals. It will help pets, farmed animals, and kept wild animals.
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Battersea Dogs and Cats Home urges Government to bring back animal welfare bill (msn.com)