Animal Welfare Legislation: The Kept Animals Bill

8 March 2023

The Kept Animals Bill is draft legislation that has the potential to improve the health and welfare of companion animals. It was first introduced in the House of Commons in June 2021 but due to a series of events affecting Westminster and the nation, the parliamentary schedule has been altered resulting in a delay to the progress of the draft Bill. Given these delays, BSAVA and other veterinary associations are now urging the Government not to let this vital piece of legislation falter.

The Bill is intended to address a range of animal welfare issues including the introduction of measures to tackle the problem of dogs attacking and worrying livestock, prohibiting the import of dogs and cats which have undergone mutilations such as cropped ears, a procedure that has long been illegal in this country, addressing pet theft and setting a minimum age for the import of puppies and kittens.

The welfare of other species will also be addressed by the Bill with the introduction of a robust and effective licensing regime for all privately kept primates, as well as a tightened definition of what constitutes a zoo.

Members of the veterinary professions can support the Bill by asking their local MP to encourage the progress of the Bill through Parliament using a template letter.