DEFRA launched an Action Plan for Animal Welfare last month detailing many reforms that affect companion animals in addition to farm and working animals. Briefly:
- The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act will increase the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years from June 29th, 2021
- Legislation will be drafted to introduce a new system of penalty notices for animal cruelty
- The number of dogs, cats and ferrets that can be moved under non-commercial travel rules will be reduced
- The minimum age that dogs can be moved or imported commercially into Great Britain will be increased
- Restrictions will be placed on the movement of pregnant dogs into Great Britain
- It will be an offence to import docks with cropped ears or docked tails or other cosmetic procedure that impacts on welfare
- A taskforce has been established to crack down on theft
- Microchipping will be compulsory for cats and a review will be undertaken of current microchip database systems, including consideration of making it compulsory for vets to scan microchips before euthanasia
- Pursue the licensing of animal sanctuaries, rescue and rehoming centres
- Ban remote controlled electronic training collars (‘e-collars’)
- Consider further protections for racing greyhounds
- Review the dangerous dogs legislation.
There is much that is laudable in this plan but, as ever, it will only be effective if backed by sufficient resources.