Imports, exports, all sorts: How we championed kept animals in Parliament

Live animal exports and imported pups were just two of topics on the agenda as FOUR PAWS UK headed to Parliament to talk with MPs


Last week, along with some of the UK’s biggest animal welfare groups, including our friends at Compassion in World Farming, Dogs Trust, HSI/UK and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, we held a walk-in session for Members of Parliament and Peers at Westminster.  

Hosted by the Rt Hon George Eustice MP, the parliamentary walk-in saw 44 MPs hear how they can support Bills that would: 

  • ban live animal exports from Great Britain for slaughter or fattening
  • ban the import of puppies and kittens under six months, along with other restrictions such as the import of dogs with cropped ears
  • make dog abduction a specific offence

Sadly, in May the UK Government announced that they were dropping the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which would have addressed all these issues. As you know, we had tirelessly campaigned to see these measures addressed in law and this event was a chance to remind MPs that #AnimalsMatter to us and the British public. 

This event followed the delivery of a petition – which gained over 95,000 signatures – to Downing Street last month, calling on the Prime Minister to show true leadership for animals and deliver a ban on live exports for slaughter and fattening.  

Live animal exports cause overcrowding, stress, exhaustion, dehydration, hunger and even in some cases, death. In recent months, other countries, like New Zealand, have taken action to ban or phase out the trade, yet the UK Government has failed to make progress despite manifesto pledges. 

The Rt Hon George Eustice MP, and previous Secretary of State for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, sponsored the event, saying:“It was great to see so many MPs showing their support for taking the various components forward as standalone Bills in the final session of this Parliament and we will work together to take these forward”. 

It’s not just us and fellow animal welfare NGOs calling for these improvements though: 

  • 86% of the public support measures to end the illegal puppy trade,
  • 76% support a ban on imports of dogs with cropped ears
  • 81% back measures to make dog theft a specific offence*.

Last week’s event also follows the launch of our brand-new report exposing the illegal puppy trade of puppies into the UK. This report highlighted the desperate need for legislative change, with loopholes and low entry requirements putting thousands of puppies at risk and in danger every single year. 

Sonul Badiani-Hamment, Country Director at FOUR PAWS UK said: “With FOUR PAWS UK’s new report, ‘Tricks of the Trade: the truth about the illegal puppy trade in the UK’, revealing that almost half of all puppies sold on Gumtree were found to have been illegally imported into the UK between 2020 and 2021, it is clear that legislative change is urgently needed to tackle puppy smuggling. 

“We urge the Government to reintroduce the measures contained in the dropped Kept Animal Bill, that had overwhelming cross party and public support, in the next Kings Speech to protect both consumers and animals and help demolish this cruel trade for good.” 

Read our report on the puppy trade here 

There is still time to urge your MP to ensure that they show how much #AnimalsMatter by reflecting our wishes for greater animal welfare legislation in their party manifestos. Take action below!

*Savanta October 7th – 9th 2022, 2309 public polled 

Show your MP that #AnimalsMatter


Sophie Miller

Digital Marketing Specialist (Maternity Cover) FOUR PAWS Australia

Sophie works in the Communications Team at FOUR PAWS Australia. She has a background in Marketing, PR and Communications across the charity sector. Sophie is passionate about animal welfare and utilises her skills and experience in communications, marketing and PR to bring about change.

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