Animal Welfare: Standards

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 8th December 2020.

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Photo of Stuart Anderson Stuart Anderson Conservative, Wolverhampton South West

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve animal welfare standards.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

This country has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world. Having modernised standards for dog breeding, pet sales and other licensed activities involving animals, the Government is planning further improvements in a number of areas, some of which are manifesto commitments. On 30 November we published plans to deliver a better and fairer farming system in England that will help farmers adapt and plan for the future.

The proposals will transform the way we support farmers, in the most significant change to farming and land management in 50 years. This includes the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, which we are co-designing with industry, to promote the production of healthier, higher-welfare animals at a level beyond compliance with current regulations. A consultation on plans to ban the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening was launched on 3 December along with proposals to better protect animal welfare during transport.

On 6 December we launched a call for evidence exploring options consistent with World Trade Organisation rules to address the shark fin trade. The UK has a strong track record in marine conservation and has been pressing for stronger international action to protect sharks against unsustainable fishing practices and shark finning. We want to better understand shark fin trade and its impacts both in the UK and overseas.

We are also committed to legislating for animal sentience, to tackling puppy smuggling, to banning primates as pets and to increasing the maximum custodial penalty for animal cruelty from six months’ imprisonment to five years. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill, currently before Parliament, will achieve this increase and has the support of Government as it makes its way through Parliament.

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