Our record on animal welfare

The UK has a proud record of supporting animal welfare.

As a lifelong animal owner myself, I have been pleased to support our world-leading agenda in recent years to improve animal welfare - both here in the UK and around the world. 

These are just some of the changes we have introduced since the last election:

The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Bill has passed its second reading. It will include new measures to crack down on livestock worrying. This is when a dog attacks or chases livestock on agricultural land which can result in significant injury or suffering and sometimes the death of the animals involved.

The Animal Welfare (Primate Licences) Regulations 2023 has passed through the Committee Stage and will stop people keeping primates as pets.

The Pet Abduction Bill has also passed the committee stage making the theft of a dog or cat a criminal offence.

The Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill has successfully passed through the House of Commons and is currently being considered by the House of Lords. If it becomes law it will prohibit the export of live cattle, sheep and pigs for slaughter.

These new Parliamentary Bills build on the high standards of animal welfare the Government has been introducing which include:

  • Legislation requiring the microchipping of cats will require cat owners to microchip their cat by 10 June 2024. This will make it easier for lost or stray pet cats to be reunited with their owners, making it mandatory for both cats and dogs to be microchipped
  • Extending The Ivory Act to include ivory from hippopotamus, walrus, narwhal, killer whale (orca), as well as sperm whale resulting in the strongest ivory ban in the world. You may also be interested that the Government supported the Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Act which will ban the advertising and offering for sale of unacceptably low animal welfare activities abroad.
  • The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 raises the maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years; while the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022 formally recognises animals as sentient beings in domestic law. It has established the Animal Sentience Committee, consisting of experts within the field, to ensure that animal sentience is considered when developing policy across Government.
  • Mandatory CCTV in all abattoirs in England giving official veterinarians unrestricted access to footage to reassure consumers that high welfare standards are being effectively enforced. This will be backed up by recent announcements about new measures to improve transparency in food labelling so people can make informed decisions about what they are eating. This should support British farmers who have high quality welfare standards.
  • The Government has also introduced new regulations for minimum standards for meat chickens and the modernisation of the licensing system for dog breeding and pet sales, and banned the use of inhumane glue traps which were used for rodent control.

The UK now has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, but I am also delighted with our marine conservation.

This Government was the first in the world to establish the Blue Belt working with UK Overseas Territories. It covers over 4.5 million square kilometres and is addressing the global effects of marine pollution, climate change and illegal fishing.

The Shark Fins Act passed last year bans the import and export of detached shark fins demonstrating the UK’s global leadership in shark conservation and in protecting our natural environment.

I was elected on a Manifesto which pledged to continue protecting and improving high animal welfare standards and I am delighted with the progress we are making.

Please contact me if there is anything I can do to help you or any animal welfare measures you would like Parliament to consider.


Environmental improvements

Reversing the decline in biodiversity and nature we've seen across the UK in recent years is one of the most important things we’ll ever do.