Over a year since the Kept Animals Bill was last discussed in Parliament, it is finally back on the calendar – but it took a petition to make that happen.
The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill an ambitious Bill. Among other things it aims to crack down on puppy smuggling; introduce the new crime of dog abduction to deter dog theft; ban the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening; ban keeping primates as pets; introduce more measures against livestock worrying; improve zoo regulations.
Despite starting out its journey through Parliament with support across party lines, it stalled before it could receive its third reading in the House of Commons and move on to the House of Lords. With the political turmoil that led to Boris Johnson’s resignation first, and Liz Truss’ short tenure later, the Bill was entirely forgotten about.
In July 2022, animal welfare campaigner Jordan Shelley started a petition calling for the Kept Animals Bill’s journey through Parliament. Despite a response from the Government in August saying that the Bill would continue its passage through the Commons “when parliamentary time allows”, no time has since been allocated for the Bill’s third reading in the House of Commons.
On 1 November, after the petition surpassed the 100k signatures required to be considered for debate, Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, penned a letter to the Government.
“Given the significant support for this petition, if you are unable to confirm a timetable for progressing this Bill, I would expect the Committee to agree to schedule a debate on this petition, to give MPs an opportunity to discuss progress of this Bill,” she wrote – and soon, a date for the debate of the petition was decided: Monday 5 December.
It is not the third reading this Bill requires, but it will be the first time in over a year that the Kept Animals Bill is talked about in Parliament in any capacity – and perhaps it will be the time when a date is finally set for this Bill to resume its journey towards becoming law.
The debate will take place today (5 December) at Westminster Hall, at 4:30pm. You can it live on the UK Parliament YouTube channel.