Snap protest at Westminster against scrapping of Kept Animals Bill

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The Kept Animals Bill was meant to crack down on puppy smuggling among other things

Animal right activists from Animal Justice Project will gather today (Friday 2 June) at Victoria Embankment, near Big Ben, before walking to Downing Street to demand that Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, reinstates the Kept Animals Bill.

The Bill was dropped in a major Government U-turn on Thursday 25 May, when Mark Spencer – the Environment, Food And Rural Affairs Minister – made the announcement citing a “lack of parliamentary time”. Prior to this, animal welfare charities had been calling for over a year for the Government to let the Bill complete its journey through Parliament, only to receive vague promises to see it through and no real action.

The Kept Animals Bill was supposed to be a milestone for animal welfare in the UK. It aimed to 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; and ban the import of dogs with cropped ears in the UK.

“following months of stalling in the Commons, this was smashed thanks to this government’s apparent inability to do the right thing”

Claire Palmer, Director of Animal Justice Project, said, “The decision to abandon the Kept Animals Bill is an astonishing betrayal of both animals and public trust. For fifty years the British public have been vocal in wanting a ban on live exports and last week, following months of stalling in the Commons, this was smashed thanks to this government’s apparent inability to do the right thing.”

Dogs Trust, who delivered a letter to Downing Street asking for the Bill to be saved only days before the Government announced it would be scrapped, said in a statement, “Despite continual promises for over 18 months that we would see the passing of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, yesterday the Government announced the Bill would be dropped and no longer become law.

“The Bill would have banned the imports of heavily pregnant dogs, dogs with cropped ears and created new powers to tackle puppy smuggling, a campaign which we have worked on for over 10 years.”

Dogs Trust added, “Not only does this decision go against a Government manifesto promise and the wishes of our nation of animal lovers, but it means that even more animals will suffer at the hands of criminals at home and abroad.

“Whilst the Government has backtracked on their commitment to ending Puppy Smuggling in the form of the Kept Animals Bill, they have stated their intention to address this in a slimmed-down Bill in the future.

“We are therefore urging the Government to tackle the cruel Puppy Smuggling trade as soon as possible and to pass any forthcoming legislation without further delay.”

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