The British Veterinary Association is calling on the Government to deliver its promised commitment to animal health and welfare by ensuring the continuation of the crucial and long-awaited Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill through Parliament.

In his letter to the Secretary of State, British Veterinary Association President Malcolm Morley reminded the Government of the vital importance of the Bill and urged the Secretary of State to take action.

BVA has long campaigned for activity in areas covered by the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which makes provision for the welfare of certain kept animals that are in, imported into or exported out of Great Britain. The Bill was first introduced in the House of Commons on 8 June 2021 and then carried over into the 2021-22 Parliamentary session, with the remaining stages scheduled for 19 September 2022. Understandably, this date was cancelled due to national events and progress of the Bill has since stalled.

He said: “This vital Bill will address some of the most pressing animal health and welfare issues of our times. With this in mind, it is essential that it continues to include vital measures, such as those designed to tackle puppy smuggling, prohibit the import of dogs with cropped ears, review zoo standards, impose a ban on keeping primates as pets and introduce mandatory, reliable pre-import testing for dogs with unknown health statuses.

“While we recognise that recent national events have rightly and understandably led to changes in the parliamentary programme in recent weeks, we are urging the Government not to let this important piece of legislation slip through the net as a result. The Bill is a golden opportunity to improve the health and welfare of billions of animals and it must continue its passage into law.”

BVA is also encouraging other veterinary professionals to write to their MPs impressing the urgency and need to continue to push the Bill through Parliament. A template letter to MPs is now available to download for veterinary professionals to complete and send to their MPs.

Read the full letter to the Secretary of State here.

The template letter for MPs can be downloaded here.