Cruel Treatment of Cattle Act 1822

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 29th June 2022.

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Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The introduction of the 1822 Cruel Treatment of Cattle Act was an important milestone. The UK was the first country in the world to pass legislation to protect animals and two years after this Act was passed, the organisation that would become the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was formed.

In 1875, we were the first country to introduce measures to improve conditions in slaughterhouses. In 1876, we were the first country to pass legislation regulating experiments on animals and passed the landmark Protection of Animals Act in 1911, an Act emulated by many other countries around the world. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 introduced a robust framework and powers for protecting all kept animals in England and Wales.

The UK has a strong track record for raising the bar when it comes to farm animal welfare standards, such as banning the use of battery cages for laying hens, close confinement stalls for pigs and veal crates for calves, and making CCTV mandatory in slaughterhouses in England. More recently we have introduced the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021, which increases the maximum sentence for the worst animal cruelty offences from six months to five years in England and Wales, and most recently, the Animals (Penalty Notices) Act and the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022.

We continue to mark the achievement of this landmark 1822 Act through delivery of our Action Plan for Animal Welfare and by launching in its bi-centenary year the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway to drive even higher standards of health and welfare for farmed animals.

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