Animal welfare was first debated in the UK parliament as far back as the 19th century.
Richard Martin introduced the first Act passed on animal cruelty. The bill, ‘to prevent the ill-treatment of horses and other animals,’ received Royal Assent in 1822. Richard Martin, and other leading members of parliament, went on to be one of the founding members of our Society. Find out more about our history.
To raise awareness of issues we regularly meet and brief politicians, organise and attend events and occasionally take them out and show them what we want to change and why.
We work closely with those in power and relevant government departments, such as Defra (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) and the Home Office to ensure our voice is heard.
When issues are debated and discussed in parliament, we respond to requests for information from MPs and provide support wherever possible. Armed with the facts about the issues surrounding animal welfare today, they can raise our concerns and speak up for animals on our behalf.
When the government decides it wants to make or change a law about an issue which affects animal welfare, we will follow the piece of legislation through its stages in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. During the process we will talk to ministers, MPs and Peers to make sure the law will work for animals.
You can find out more information about how a Bill becomes law by looking at our helpful flowchart which can be downloaded here: How a Bill becomes law (PDF 25.7kb)
Current issues we have been working on in parliament include reviewing the legislation relating to dangerous dogs, a ban on wild animals in circuses and improving the regulations of animal experiments.