The UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and it is right for us to cement our status as a global leader by continuing to raise the bar. All animals should be subject to the highest possible welfare standards and I know the Government is working hard to strengthen our position as a world leader in this field at the end of the Transition Period.
I am sure, like me, you will be encouraged to know that the Prime Minister believes animal welfare is a priority. In 2019, in his first speech outside Downing Street, Boris Johnson said “let us promote the welfare of animals that have always been so close to the hearts of the British people,” and I know that my Ministerial colleagues agree with this sentiment.
I am pleased that Ministers have committed to introducing tougher sentences for animal cruelty. To deliver this, the Government is currently supporting the passage of the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill which will increase the maximum custodial penalty for the worst animal cruelty offences from six months or an unlimited fine to five years or an unlimited fine.
Ministers will also take advantage of our departure from the EU to deliver manifesto commitments to end excessively long journeys for slaughter and fattening of livestock. Alongside this, they are continuing to work on developing new laws on animal sentience and cracking down on the illegal smuggling of dogs and puppies. Moreover, the Government will also consult in the near future on commitments to ban pet primates, introduce mandatory cat microchipping and implement the Ivory Act. I am pleased that commitments have also been made to ban imports from trophy hunting of endangered animals.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.