Animal Welfare Bill Dropped as Government Minister Condemns ‘Scope Creep’


The government has shelved a major animal welfare bill in parliament, citing “scope creep”, but has been accused by campaigners of betrayal.

Environment Secretary Mark Spencer told the House of Commons on Thursday that the Animal Welfare Bill would not be considered, but there are a number of issues the bill is designed to address, including a permanent ban on the export of live animals. He insisted that he would work on the problem.

Mr Spencer said the bill has suffered repeated delays since it was first tabled in June 2021, but that it contains a number of amendments, a promise made in the Conservative Party’s 2019 election manifesto. said it could not proceed because it would mean far beyond

Mr Spencer said: “There has been a considerable range of change. The bill risks being stretched far beyond its original promises in the manifesto and action plan, and Labor in particular has called for expanding the scope of the bill. He has made it clear that he is determined to play a political game.”

But Claire Bass, senior director of campaigns and public relations at the Humane Society, said, “The government’s decision to abandon the Animal Husbandry Bill is a stunning betrayal of both animals and public trust.”

she said: “Congress’s time is clearly not the real issue here, as Congress only needed a few more hours to succeed. Whitehall officials say the real reason the bill was scrapped. The government said it feared it would become a vehicle for uncomfortable debates the government didn’t want on polarizing issues such as hunting with dogs.

Labor MPs are believed to have tried to add a ban on fox hunting with dogs to the bill.

introduced by the Scottish Parliament earlier this year law Ban hunting of wild mammals by dogs.

Fox hunting was banned in England and Wales under the Hunting Act of 2005, but instead there is a loophole called ‘trail hunting’ that allows dogs to follow scented cloths, critics say. point out.

The Cruel Sports Federation has been accused of being used as a “smoke screen” for illegal fox hunting.

But the government is adamant that the bill is only intended to expand protection for ‘tamed’ and livestock animals, not wild animals.

“Animals suffer while politicians suffer”

RSPCA Policy Director Emma Slawinski said: “While politicians flinch, animals suffer. We are frustrated and disappointed that we have scrapped the bill and caused more uncertainty and lost time.”

Chris Pratt and Lorraine Pratt, co-founders of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, said: “We believe this is a missed opportunity to further strengthen animal welfare and protection across the UK.” Stated.

Labor shadow environment secretary Alex Sobel told the House of Commons: It was once again confirmed that the government was too weak to introduce its own bill. Innocent animals will now suffer the consequences. ”

But Spencer said, “We remain committed to delivering on the manifesto’s promises, and this approach is now the surest and fastest way to do so.”

‘Political push’

“We plan to take forward action on the domestic animal bill on a case-by-case basis during the remainder of this legislative session,” he said. This approach is now the surest and fastest way to do so, rather than getting involved in political politics.”

Spencer added: “By leaving the EU, we can and will ban live exports for fattening and slaughter, and from 2020 there will be no live exports from the UK. No, but our law ensures that this is permanent, and we will continue to deliver it.”

In the 1980s and 1990s, Britain exported about 2 million sheep and 500,000 cattle a year to farms and slaughterhouses in Europe, but the condition of the animals ferrying in from as far away as Wales and Scotland was unknown. Complaints were received regularly.

“We are fully committed to cracking down on puppy smuggling and will ban the importation of young, heavily pregnant or mutilated dogs,” Spencer said. We could do this more quickly with a single-point bill than we could.” Under the Domestic Animal Bill. ”

The shelved bill would also have banned the keeping of monkeys and other primates as pets, but Spencer said he plans to go ahead with the ban and introduce new crimes. pet abductionfollowing reports that an expensive dog had been stolen to order.