Clause 3 - Licensing standards and other requirements

Part of Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 16th November 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 10:30 am, 16th November 2021

The code I referred to earlier, which I would be delighted to share with the hon. Gentleman, already applies. It goes into some detail about the importance of social interaction for primates and the way in which they should be kept. As I said, the regulations will develop the specifics and we are actively working on them with experts in the field. I would be delighted to share with the hon. Gentleman the details of that process as it continues.

We intend to introduce microchipping for licensed primates, but not where that is harmful, which it may be in a few exceptional cases. Microchipping primates is a significant procedure. It can require anaesthetic and carries a degree of risk to more vulnerable primates. There will be cases where exemptions to microchipping are needed—for example, if a primate is elderly or in ill health. As the hon. Gentleman said, primates are closely related to us and I sympathise with that position. Microchipping will be set out in the regulations, however, and we need to work slowly and carefully with the sector to come up with the right set of exemptions.

We also think that licence holders should provide key information to local authorities, including on primate births, deaths or transfers. That can be set out in secondary legislation, after we have worked with relevant experts. As we develop our standards, we are consulting widely. We want to set the bar high and aim for zoo-equivalent standards, and we need to ensure that the standards include species-specific requirements. Some of these are set out in the code, but learning has developed since the code was written, and it is important that we have the most up-to-date advice.

We need to work in a collaborative and expert-led way. I do not want to presuppose exactly what the standards should be now, so we will introduce our licensing standards via regulations made under the affirmative procedure and Parliament will be able to scrutinise their detail. I ask the hon. Gentleman to withdraw the amendment.