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Campaign and petition email responses | Will you help dogs like Henry?

Campaign and petition email responses

Will you help dogs like Henry?

Animal welfare is an area which the SNP takes extremely seriously. The SNP has been vocal in addressing concerns in this area at a UK level and through the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government which seeks to take steps to strengthen animal welfare legislation.  

The Kept Animals Bill received its first reading in June 2021, yet despite the Bill enjoying wide-spread support across the House and constituents filling up MP’s inboxes encouraging support for the Bill alongside requesting a timeline for when this Bill would return, unashamedly the UK Government has not brought the Bill back to the chamber. 

The UK Government has dithered and delayed on acting to improve animal welfare standards and regulation, with the Animals Abroad Bill dropped by Boris Johnson in his attempts to appease backbenchers during the partygate scandal, and with no Kept Animals Bill in legislative sight under Rishi Sunak, it is imperative the UK Government acts now. 

Much of animal welfare legislation highlighted in the Kept Animals Bill is devolved, and the Scottish Government legislating to:   

  • Modernise and update the Animal Welfare Act from 2006 and continuing the highest possible animal welfare standards.    

  • Develop new licensing requirements for breeding puppies, kittens, or infant rabbits, as well as the introduction of Lucy’s Law which will end the third party selling of dogs and cats in Scotland under the age of six months.     
  • Ban live exports of animals for fattening and slaughter and only allow live transport of livestock to and from islands and the mainland with stringent welfare standards in place, as well as CCTV coverage of livestock in abattoirs.   
  • The Scottish Government has recently passed the Hunting with Dogs Bill through Holyrood fulfilling the Scottish Government’s commitment to strengthen the law on hunting with dogs. The chasing and killing of a wild mammal with a dog for sport or otherwise has no place in modern Scotland, and it has been illegal for twenty years. The Scottish Government is seeking to close loopholes in the existing legislation, which have allowed that already illegal activity to persist.  

It is beyond disappointing that the UK Government fails to protect the lives of animals who are put at perilous risk via puppy and kitten farm imports, banning the import of animal fur and foie gras, licensing primate ownership, modernising zoo regulations, and controlling the exports of livestock. This dereliction of duty shows the Prime Minister does not hold animal welfare to the highest of standards as much as the electorate in the 4 nations of the UK do. 

Ear cropping, for example, is an intensely painful procedure which veterinary scientists state has no medical or physical advantage to the animal, leading to concerns of animal cruelty over performing unnecessary surgery on dogs. It has been illegal for well over the lifespan of any dog born in the U.K. since the Animal Welfare Act 2006 came into force so realistically every dog should have natural ears.

Despite this law, however, currently the UK permits the importation of dogs which have undergone this procedure in countries where it remains legal. This is wrong, and cruelty by the backdoor ought to be banned from being imported from abroad.

The Kept Animals Bill received an agreed legislative consent motion by the Scottish Parliament in January 2022, with SNP MPs supporting a carry-over motion last year, the Bill must be allocated parliamentary time upon our return from recess.  

It is of vital importance the UK Government gets a grip and better legislates to protect animals, and the SNP will continue to urge the UK Government to do so. Animals across these islands must be better protected from harms.

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@StewartMcDonald on Twitter