House of Commons Library

Animal Welfare

Published Wednesday, March 29, 2017

This Commons Library Debate Pack has been prepared ahead of the Backbench Business Committee debate in the Commons Chamber on animal welfare on Thursday 30 March 2017. The sponsoring Member is Neil Parish.

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Motion to be debated:

That this House notes that current penalties for animal welfare offences in England are amongst the lowest in Europe; believes that while the Government's plans for a new licensing regime for dogs in England is welcome the Government should consider a ban on the third party sale of dogs; and calls on the Government to increase the maximum penalty for animal welfare offences to five years, as recommended in the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee’s Third Report, Animal welfare in England: domestic pets, HC 117.

Animal welfare is a devolved matter in the UK. In England and Wales, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 provides safeguards for the welfare of animals and ‘protected animals’ (which are defined as being commonly domesticated in Britain). In Scotland, the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 provides for similar protections, and the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 does the same for Northern Ireland.

This briefing provides information on domestic animal welfare in England and Wales (as well as comparisons with Devolved Assembly approaches where they differ), including details on enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, penalties for animal cruelty and the welfare of breeding dogs.

Further information

EFRA Commmittee Report, Animal Welfare: domestic pets inquiry

Government response to EFRA Committee Report on animal welfare.

Commons Debate packs CDP-2017-0109

Authors: David Hirst; Alison Pratt

Topics: Animal welfare, Animals

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