Henry said: “The introduction of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill would have added weight to the Government’s argument that the UK is a global leader in animal welfare. But, with the Bill having been dropped, we are in danger of rapidly falling behind other countries.
“The Government must quickly legislate to ensure animals will not suffer as a result. I’m delighted to support calls to ban live exports and end puppy and kitten smuggling, which already have such widespread public support.
“It’s time for the Government to continue delivering on its pledges to improve animal welfare.”
In May, the Government announced that they were dropping the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, despite it being strongly supported by UK animal welfare organisations.
The parliamentary event follows the delivery of a petition – which gained over 95,000 signatures – to Downing Street last month, calling on the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, to show true leadership for animals and deliver a ban on live exports for slaughter and fattening.
Live exports cause overcrowding, stress, exhaustion, dehydration, hunger and even death. In recent months, other countries have taken action to ban or phase out the trade, yet the Government has failed to make progress despite manifesto pledges.
86 per cent of the public support measures to end the illegal puppy trade, 76 per cent support a ban on imports of dogs with cropped ears and 81 per cent support measures to make dog theft a specific offence. The Government should raise the minimum age for dogs to be transported into the UK to six months and limit the maximum number of dogs that can be transported in one journey to three dogs.
The Chief Public Affairs Manager at Compassion in World Farming UK, James West, commented;
“We know that a ban on live exports has huge public support, and it’s great to see that reflected in the large number of MPs who attended the event today. It is now time for the UK Government to take note and finally deliver the long-awaited Bill to ban live exports so this trade is ended once and for all.
“Thank you to all those MPs that attended today’s session and for helping to keep up the pressure to ensure legislation to ban live exports remains on the UK political agenda.”
The Country Director at FOUR PAWS UK, Sonul Badiani-Hamment, added: “With FOUR PAWS UK’s new report, ‘Tricks of the Trade: the truth about the illegal puppy trade in the UK’, revealing that almost half of all puppies sold on Gumtree were found to have been illegally imported into the UK between 2020 and 2021, it is clear that legislative change is urgently needed to tackle puppy smuggling.
“We urge the Government to reintroduce the measures contained in the dropped Kept Animal Bill, that had overwhelming cross-party and public support, in the next King’s Speech to protect both consumers and animals and help demolish this cruel trade for good.”