“Outrageous” – that’s how the West of England’s Metro Mayor described ministers’ decision to pull the plug on a new law that would have cracked down on cruel puppy smuggling.
The Kept Animals Bill – which also included a ban on primates as pets, and exporting live animals for slaughter and fattening – was in the Conservatives’ election manifesto.
But in an update to Parliament today, the Government said all the plans had been ditched.
Dan Norris, a life-long animal welfare advocate, branded the announcement a “dereliction of duty”, and accused the Prime Minister of breaking his promises. During last summer’s Conservative Party leadership campaign, Sunak was asked if he would support the bill completing its passage through the Commons. He said: “The simple answer is of course, yes.”
Norris pointed to other Conservative decisions to row back on promises to improve animal welfare standards, including them scrapping plans to ban the import of foie gras and fur earlier this year as he declared that “the Nasty Party is well and truly back”.
The Labour Mayor said: “This outrageous decision proves yet again that the Nasty Party is well and truly back – in fact, arguably, it never went away. It’s nothing less than a dereliction of duty – the clearest of signals that ministers do not see animal welfare as a priority, and that we have a Prime Minister too weak to deliver his own legislation. It means innocent animals will continue to suffer – more puppies smuggled, more animals transported on long, perilous, and often fatal journeys by ship. The truth is that Tory ministers are completely out of touch with the public on this. How we treat animals shows if we are a civilised society. West of England residents want to see a government that fully rejects animal cruelty and that strengthens welfare standards, not one that degrades them further.”