Concern UK Government's commitment to animals is verging on 'collapse'
The RSPCA has called on the UK Government to prioritise the completion of its Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, so that cruel practices, such as exporting live animals for slaughter, keeping primates as pets and the puppy import trade become consigned to history, as promised by the last Conservative Party manifesto.
The call comes amid worrying reports that the Government is already dropping two separate pledges contained within the Defra Action Plan for Animals; to ban the import of foie gras and the import of fur products. The production of which are both illegal in the UK already.
Now, the animal welfare charity fears that the UK Government's commitment to animal welfare policy risks "complete collapse" altogether unless plans for a Kept Animals Bill are soon revived.
According to a recent survey, 80% of people want animal welfare protected by law, but over the past months, a number of potential animal laws have either stalled, lack a timetable to move forward or could be dropped completely.
The RSPCA believes that the progress of the severely delayed Kept Animals Bill will be a litmus test of the UK Government's continued commitment to animal welfare and to the manifesto on which it was elected. The public, according to the charity, will give the Government huge kudos if it goes ahead with the proposals.
David Bowles, the RSPCA's head of public affairs, said:
We are dismayed by recent reports that the UK Government could drop two key animal welfare pledges. This sends out a worrying signal, but we want to see animal welfare legislation firmly back on track.
Now, the litmus test of this government's genuine commitment to animal welfare and its manifesto promises will be whether it prioritises the delayed Kept Animals Bill. We know that eight out of 10 people want animal welfare protected by law. Enacting this legislation has no downsides: the UK Government would gain lots of brownie points, demonstrating that it's listening to the country.
Time is of the essence and we'll be watching the Kept Animals Bill's progress closely to ensure it's given priority so that practices such as the live exports of animals for slaughter, keeping primates as pets and the cruel puppy import trade become consigned to history as soon as possible.
The Bill was due for Parliamentary scrutiny on September 19th but was postponed due to the Queen's funeral. As worrying reports suggest plans to ban the import of foie gras and the import of fur products have already been shelved; we fear that without quick, meaningful action on the Kept Animals Bill, the UK Government's policy agenda for animal welfare is on the verge of complete collapse.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please donate online or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181.