Pet laws set for revamp
By Veronica Brown, Reuters, Oct 16
- Britain is seeking to live up to its reputation as a
animal-lovers with a plan to overhaul almost 100 years of laws
welfare of all animals kept by humans.
As well as domestic cats and dogs,
the proposed bill will cover the
welfare of all farmed, wild or exotic
animals in captivity and animals
used for entertainment or sport, but it will
steer clear of the
controversial topic of hunting, which is being handled
No restrictions are planned on shooting animals for sport,
pheasants and grouse.
"This is not an animal rights bill, it`s
modern, streamlined animal
welfare ...it`s not a bill that gives your cat the
right to sue you if
it doesn`t get the comfy chair next to the fire and 10
snacks a day,"
animal health minister Elliot Morley told reporters at a
outlining the proposals.
"We believe this is a measure that
really only comes up once in a
century for this country to reclaim its place
as a pioneer and a
trend-setter in relation to high standards in animal
welfare," he added.
Among its objectives, the proposed enabling bill will
regulations to ban mutilation of animals such as docking dogs
preventing cruelty and promoting welfare.
"The British are
generally a nation of animal lovers, but that does not
stop some horrific
offences taking place. We want to stop cruelty,
encourage good welfare and
avoid the trap of excessive legislation,"
Raising the age
at which children can buy pets will also be tackled.
"We know from our
consultation that a very large number of pet shops are
already applying a
voluntary code of not selling pets to unaccompanied
children under sixteen,"
"It has become established as best practice and I think what
is recognising that the best practice should become the norm," he
The Green Party attacked the plan, dubbing
it "a bill of rights for
pets" that failed to address key concerns such as
the conditions of
animals kept for scientific research.
Blair government`s record on animal rights has been a cruel
New Labour continues to be enthusiastic about
vivisection but fails to invest
in humane, non-animal alternatives," it
said in a statement.
cutting-edge science that doesn`t abuse animals, but the Blair
ignores it. The UK spends less than the cost of one animal
research project a
year on alternative, non-animal research," it added.
The plans will go
forward for consultation to produce a draft bill with
final legislation not
seen in place before 2004.
"I want the resulting Act of Parliament to
stand the test of time. That
is why it must be robust but flexible so that we
can adapt with the
times and in line with changing views," Morley