MPs vote down attempt to revive Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill

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kept animals bill dropped

On Wednesday 21 June, only weeks after the Government’s decision to drop the long-awaited Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill in what was described as a disappointing U-turn, MPs have rejected a Labour motion which sought to bring the Bill back into Parliament. MPs voted 256 to 183 to reject Labour’s motion.

The Kept Animals Bill was ambitious Bill that aimed, among other things, to crack down on puppy smuggling; introduce the new crime of dog abduction to deter dog theft; and ban the import of dogs with cropped ears. A positive vote could have allowed the Bill to pass through its remaining stages in the House of Commons as early as 12 July.

“We’re saddened that MPs have rejected the Kept Animals Bill. Enacting this legislation would have no downsides”

Commenting the vote David Bowles, RSPCA head of public affairs,  said: “We are disappointed that MPs have voted against reviving the Kept Animals Bill.

“It’s terrible news for animals and we are calling on the UK Government to rethink and bring back all the proposals contained within the binned Bill back by other means. We cannot go on allowing cruel practices such as the live exports of animals for slaughter and the puppy import trade.

“After the UK Government dropped this legislation in May, today’s vote (an Opposition Day Motion) was crunch-time for animals in England and was a litmus test of this government’s genuine commitment to animal welfare, its manifesto promises and the policy commitments it put at risk when binning the Kept Animals Bill in May.”

puppy in garden

“We’re saddened that MPs have rejected the Kept Animals Bill. Enacting this legislation would have no downsides: it would make a seismic difference for animals, and the UK Government would also gain lots of ‘Brownie Points’, demonstrating that it is listening to the country. Sadly, today’s vote suggests that the government is prepared to further delay fulfilling its commitments to make animals’ lives better. While politicians dither, animals suffer.”

While welcoming the Government’s pledge to introduce animal welfare measures – such as a ban on the keeping of primates as pets – through new Bills, Bowles added that “the Bill contained many other proposals to tackle many other cruel practices which must be re-introduced as soon as possible”.

“Without such action, the UK Government’s policy agenda for animal welfare is merely smoke and mirrors,” he concluded.

“When is the Government going to put the needs of animals before political point-scoring?”

Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, said, “I can’t convey how sad we are that, despite clear backing from the public, 65,000 of whom have emailed the Prime Minister pleading with him to pass this Bill to protect animals, it’s been blocked yet again from passing through Parliament.

“While Westminster continues to play political games, dogs are suffering horrific journeys to Great Britain, often without food and with little water, to be sold to unsuspecting buyers. Dogs are having their ears brutally mutilated, sometimes without anaesthesia, which can have a detrimental effect on their health, behaviour and welfare. The practice can leave them unable to communicate properly, as dogs use their ears to express their emotions. There are all manner of crimes against animals that the Bill would be able to tackle.

“When is the Government going to put the needs of animals before political point-scoring?”

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