Thank you for contacting me about cats and the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill.
The United Kingdom has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and we should what we can to protect our world-leading standards. The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill will bring in some of the world’s strongest protections for pets, livestock, and kept wild animals.
The Bill includes new restrictions on pet movements into Great Britain, which covers the non-commercial movements of cats, as well as dogs and ferrets. The Bill also contains powers to restrict the import of cats, dogs and ferrets on welfare grounds.
In August 2021, the Government launched an eight-week consultation on proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. This consultation proposed to maintain the existing requirements for cats as there is currently limited evidence of a significant illegal trade in cats or significant numbers of low welfare movements.
The Bill includes a new offence of taking and detaining a dog in response to a recommendation made by the Pet Theft Taskforce. The offence, which was added to the Bill at its Commons Committee stage, is initially limited to the abduction of dogs in recognition of the Taskforce's finding that seven out of 10 pet abductions in England and Wales involved dogs. The Bill also includes a power to extend the offence to other pets, including cats, if necessary. The Government listened to the views expressed at Committee Stage and is considering the issue carefully.
The Bill was carried over into the 2022-23 parliamentary session and will return to the House as soon as parliamentary time allows.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
EDWARD LEIGH MP