Over the last 4 years we have seen significant changes to animal welfare legislation including the Licensing of Animal Activities 2018 and a ban on third party selling of puppies and kittens. There is new legislation coming through in the Kept Animals Bill which curb imports of puppies, restrict the keeping of primates as well as the review of the microchipping act and the compulsory microchipping of cats. There are outline thoughts on licensing animal welfare establishments and potentially other animal businesses in the future and, most significantly for enforcement, the introduction of the Fixed Penalty Notices Bill.
All of this is very positive for animal welfare and helps to build on the country’s status as a leader in high standards for animal welfare, however this legislation needs to be effectively implemented and, where necessary, enforced. The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) has been considering the effectiveness of animal welfare enforcement for the last six months and has recognised a significant burden falls on local authorities in regards to licensing in particular. APGAW has been working with local authorities, police, RSPCA Inspectorate and World Horse Welfare to consider solutions to better enforcement and is now currently putting together the results of its research. The aim is to set out a model on how we improve animal welfare enforcement through clearer guidelines and responsibility as well as collaborative working. APGAW is due to meet on 9th March to present the first stages of its work to MPs and will then set out the proposed model on the website if support is given.