Kept Animals Bill

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill would have addressed several significant animal health and welfare issues through the introduction of vital measures, such as those designed to tackle puppy smuggling, prohibit the import of dogs with cropped ears, and review zoo standards. Regrettably, on 25 May 2023, the Government announced that the Bill as a whole would be scrapped, with some of its intended measures to be taken forward as individual pieces of legislation.


What is the issue?

The Kept Animals Bill was first introduced in the House of Commons on 2 June 2021 and subsequently carried over into the 2021-22 Parliamentary session, with its remaining stages scheduled for 19 September 2022.

Understandably, this date was cancelled due to national events at the time. Progress of the Bill then stalled. An announcement was made on 25 May 2023, as part of the Government’s Animal Welfare Statement, that the Bill would be scrapped as its scope was becoming far wider than its original remit. In its place, the Government advised that they would introduce individual pieces of legislation to address some of the measures contained within the Bill.

BVA has long campaigned for activity in areas covered by the Bill, which makes provision for the welfare of certain kept animals that are in, imported into or exported out of Great Britain. The Bill was a golden opportunity to improve the health and welfare of billions of animals, and we are urging the Government not to let the important measures it contains to slip through the net.

What is BVA doing?

  • October 2022: We have written to the Defra Secretary of State, Thérèse Coffey, urging her to prioritise this key piece of legislation.
  • We are lobbying civil servants within Defra, highlighting the importance of the Bill.
  • November 2022: We made the Kept Animals Bill the focus of our Afternoon Tea Briefing in the House of Commons, encouraging attendees to show their support by taking photographs with our “I support the Kept Animals Bill” board and sharing these on social media.
  • February 2023: BVA and its Divisions have written to the Defra Secretary of State, Thérèse Coffey, stressing the importance of this crucial Bill.
  • March 2023: BVA President Malcolm Morley has written to all MPs, urging action on the Kept Animals Bill. 
  • March 2023: BVA President Malcolm Morley has written to the Prime Minister, calling for the Bill to continue in its current form. 
  • April 2023: BVA President Malcolm Morley wrote to Defra Minister, Mark Spencer MP, in response to his letter to BVA on the Kept Animals Bill.
  • May 2023: BVA issued a response to the Government’s Animal Welfare Statement, in which it was announced that the Bill would be scrapped.
  • July 2023: BVA submitted a joint response with BSAVA and BVZS to the Defra consultation on licensing of specialist private primate keepers in England.

How can I get involved?

  • Arrange a surgery appointment with your local MP in order to highlight the importance of the individual measures in the Bill. Find your MP.
  • Post on social media, highlighting how vital it is that the individual measures are taken forward, tagging:
    • Defra Ministers: Thérèse Coffey, Mark Spencer and Lord Benyon
    • Your local MP