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UK launches first ever action plan to improve the welfare and conservation of animals at home and abroad.
The Government has today published an action plan for animal welfare that will revolutionise the treatment of animals in the UK and introduce measures to protect the welfare of animals abroad.
The Action Plan for Animal Welfare, launched today by the Environment Secretary George Eustice, will build on the existing world leading standards by recognising animals as sentient in law and committing to a range of new game changing welfare measures to protect pets, livestock and wild animals.
During a visit to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the Environment Secretary said that the Government would take a significant step forwards on animal welfare by formally recognising animals as sentient beings through a new Animal Sentience Bill that will be introduced to Parliament tomorrow (13 May), putting animal welfare at the very heart of government policy decision making.
The Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said: "We are a nation of animal lovers and were the country in the world to pass animal welfare laws. Our Action Plan for Animal Welfare will deliver on our manifesto commitment to ban the export of live animal exports for slaughter and fattening, prohibit keeping primates as pets and bring in new laws to tackle puppy smuggling.
"We will lead on the protection of animals abroad by implementing the world’s toughest ivory ban and banning the import of hunting trophies to protect iconic species. As an independent nation we are now able to go further than ever to build on our excellent track record."
Peter Laurie, Chief Executive of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, added: "Battersea very much welcomes the new Action Plan for Animal Welfare. Every dog and cat deserves to be safe from harm and this means clamping down on those trading animals illegally and in poor welfare conditions, being proactive to protect owners from the devastation of having their pet lost or stolen, and doing everything we can to reunite them.
"Our pets are not only sentient beings, but much-loved family members and we support any measures that will protect them from unnecessary suffering, and reassure dog and cat owners, both now and in the future."
The Action Plan for Animal Welfare will improve welfare for pets by tackling puppy smuggling through changes to import rules, introducing compulsory microchipping for cats, cracking down on pet theft through a new government task force, banning remote controlled training e-collars. The plan will protect wild animals by, making it illegal to keep primates as pets, introducing new laws to crack down on illegal hare coursing, supporting legislation to restrict the use of glue traps, funding wildlife conservation projects both at home abroad.
The import of hunting trophies from endangered animals will be banned, as well as the sale of ivory, import and export of detached shark fins. The Action plan will start to explore a ban on the sale of foie gras and advertisement of unacceptable low-welfare animal practices abroad – such as elephant rides.
The plan will improve welfare for farmed animals by ending the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter, introducing new measures to improve welfare during transport, giving the police more powers to protect farm animals from dangerous or out of control dogs, examining the use of cages for poultry and farrowing crates for pigs, improving animal welfare at slaughter, incentivising farmers to improve animal health and welfare through future farming policy.
The Government will introduce a series of Bills in due course focusing on animal se ntience, kept animals here in the UK and the welfare of animals. There will also be a series of non-legislative changes to promote animal welfare over the coming months, with a number of regulations due to be brought forward as early as this year.
The Government will also ensure that animal welfare is not compromised in all our future trade negotiations.
The UK has a world-leading record on animal welfare, and over the last decade the Government has introduced a range measures to ensure we offer animals the care, respect and protection they deserve. This includes banning the use of battery cages for laying hens, introducing compulsory CCTV in slaughter houses and raising the maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years.
Claire Bass, Ecxecutive Director of Humane Society International, said: "We are very pleased to see so many commitments to protect animals brought into focus by government through this action plan. Britain prides itself as a nation of animal lovers and animals suffering both here and overseas for food, fur, entertainment, the pet trade and more deserve this proactive agenda.
"Delivering on the plan will require understanding and real commitment from across Whitehall. Respect for animal welfare is not only the right thing to do for animals, it will also play a critical role in tackling global environmental and public health challenges such as climate change, antibiotic resistance and pandemic prevention."
Recognising the links between animal health and welfare and the health of our planet, the Government is also working closely with industry to transform future farming policy through the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway which will forge a new deal between government and farmers to promote healthier and higher welfare animals. The Pathway will pay farmers to improve animal health and welfare, reduce carbon emissions and slow the rise of anti-microbial resistance.
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