Tag Archives: kept animals bill

Ditching Kept Animals Bill is a major threat to animal welfare

In my capacity as a veterinary surgeon, I am compelled to express my thoughts not as the Liberal Democrat candidate for MP, but as a professional dedicated to animal welfare.

Most people will be aware that I have long championed the need for more vets and scientists to be involved in front-line politics.

The government’s decision to axe the Kept Animals Bill at the 11th hour is hugely disappointing. I share in the dismay expressed by the British Veterinary Association, the Dogs Trust, and several other organisations that have worked so hard for so long to get this bill over the line, and judging by the messages I’ve received from the public and fellow veterinary surgeons, most people share our frustration.

The significance of this bill cannot be understated, as it aimed to address critical issues pertaining to animal health and welfare. The British Veterinary Association President, Malcolm Morley:

News that the Kept Animals Bill will not progress through parliament is extremely disappointing. This crucial legislation, and the package of measures it contained, would have prevented the immeasurable suffering of thousands of animals, by tackling puppy smuggling, the importation of dogs with cropped ears, live animal exports and the keeping of primates as pets.

Consequently, the repercussions on animal welfare of shelving this legislation cannot be overstated.

These concerns are far from hypothetical. As practising vets we know it is not uncommon for dogs with cropped ears, a painful and purposeless mutilation, to be brought into veterinary practices. This cruel procedure is carried out in the UK and abroad by people with no veterinary training merely serves to create an aesthetic image associated with certain breeds.

The bill also included measures to tackle the alarming rise in puppy smuggling, particularly from Eastern Europe. This not only poses a major threat to animal welfare but also carries public health implications, as the imported puppies can introduce diseases that can infect humans such as Brucella canis and rabies. The banning and enforcement of the importation of young puppies and pregnant bitches would have been hugely effective and curtailing this illegal trade.

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