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Parliament Continues to Debate UK Animal Welfare Bill

An animal welfare bill is being debated in Parliament, expected to provide protections to animals of various species.

Currently, animals maintain broad protections through the Animal Rights Act of 2006. The bill addresses farm animals as well as home pets, and requires all owners to meet the basic needs of the animals in their care.

“The welfare of all farmed animals is protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which makes it an offense to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal. The Act also contains a duty of care to animals - anyone responsible for an animal must take reasonable steps to make sure the animal’s welfare needs are met,” said the UK government in a statement online.

This new bill would add additional protections to target more specific issues facing animal populations in the UK. The bill is supposed to “raise animal welfare standards in five key areas”.

Puppy smuggling:

The bill will change pet travel rules, reducing the number of pets that can travel within a vehicle. This is expected to reduce rates of puppy smuggling with the help of various other restrictions, including an increase in the minimum age of imported puppies.

Live exports:

This change will ban live animals from being exported for slaughtering and fattening, which brings undue stress upon livestock.

Banning keeping primates as pets:

Yes, some people do keep primates as domestic pets, and they often cannot provide adequate care to these animals. Under these new laws, the UK would allow only zoo-level care standards to protect the wellbeing of the captive primates.

Livestock worrying:

The bill would also provide further protections to prevent livestock from being endangered by aggressive dogs by giving the police more power to intervene.


Zoos will be expected to maintain a certain standard in both their conservation efforts and adherence to improved regulations.

“The Kept Animals Bill will bring in some of the world’s highest and strongest protections for pets, livestock and kept wild animals,” said Environment Secretary George Eustice.

Critics claim the bill is unnecessary, while it may be a valuable step in the right direction for global animal right’s activists.

What do you think about this bill? An unnecessary add-on to already comprehensive legislation, or an additional protection deserved by animals?

Written by Maia Lund

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