UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak has been accused of breaking his word after he dropped the government’s animal welfare legislation.
Recall that the prime minister had promised Conservative colleagues during the leadership election that he would bring the kept animals bill, a key plank of the 2019 manifesto, into law. The legislation was to ban live exports of farm animals as well as clamping down on puppy smuggling and dog theft.
But in parliament on Thursday, environment minister Mark Spencer confirmed that the legislation would be scrapped.
“Unfortunately this multi-issue nature means … the bill risks being extended far beyond the original commitments in the manifesto and the action plan,” he was quoted to have said. “In particular Labour is determined to play political games by widening the scope of this bill.” This hints at fears among some Conservatives that the bill could have been used to argue for curbs on hunting and farming,”.
Spencer also announced a new animal sentience committee, which will begin its work next month, and a consultation on higher fines for animal abuse and neglect.
The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (Cawf) which is made up of influential Tory patrons including Carrie Johnson, Michael Gove and Zac Goldsmith, has criticised the decision.
Lorraine Platt, co-founder of the group, said: “Cawf is disappointed by the statement delivered today. We believe this represents a missed opportunity to further enhance the welfare and protection of animals across the United Kingdom. The kept animals bill is strongly supported by MPs, NGOs, charities, and the public alike. Its provisions, which include ending live animal exports for fattening and slaughter, and tackling puppy smuggling, resonate with the public’s priorities and deliver critical Conservative manifesto commitments.
Story was adapted from the Guardian.