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CDB "Animal Welfare Bill" CAMPAIGN

Defra issued the following press release 30 April 2002:

"Animal Welfare Bill" CAMPAIGN

Return to main DEFRA Campaign Page

Initial DEFRA consultation paper

CDB Submission to DEFRA

DEFRA Press Release
30 April 2002

CDB Press Release
2 May 2002

Guide to lobbying

UK Vets For Docking Site

"Reform of Veterinary Surgeons Act" CAMPAIGN

CDB submission to DEFRA



More than 1,600 letters have been received by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in response to its public consultation on animal welfare legislation.

The 16-week consultation, launched on 2 January, ends today (Tuesday) and officials will begin sifting through the responses in order to put together draft proposals on the way forward.

The Department is considering the possibility of a new animal welfare bill, pulling together current legislation and closing loopholes. Once the responses to the initial public consultation have been analysed the Department will consult further on any resultant draft proposals.

However, these proposals will not take the form of a Bill of Rights for Animals as mistakenly reported by some sections of the media. This has never been the aim of the consultation.

In a speech to the Pet Advisory Committee, in London today, Animal Welfare Minister Elliot Morley said:

"I have received a lot of letters from people supporting the idea of a new animal welfare bill and raising issues such as the management of animal sanctuaries and the age at which children should be allowed to buy pets.

"Another key issue appears to be the docking of dog's tails. I will carefully consider the arguments that have been put forward for and against tail docking. No final decision will be made lightly, but I can say now, that I am not impressed by the argument that a dog should be mutilated solely for cosmetic reasons and make grooming easier."

The public consultation was launched because DEFRA wants to streamline and modernise current animal welfare legislation which was groundbreaking in its day but has become outdated and unwieldy.

The consultation was wide open and far-reaching. More than 200 stakeholders, including police, local authorities and animal welfare groups where written to directly by the Department. The consultation letter was also published on the DEFRA website to enable any other interested parties and individuals to take part.

So far DEFRA has received:

More than 1600 letters from the public.
Just under 200 letters from welfare and commercial organisations and local authorities.
Many letters were received from dog breeders but the Department has also had correspondence from organisations concerned with birds, performing animals and the management of animal sanctuaries.
Mr Morley said:

"There has been a ground swell of support for a radical overhaul of our outdated animal welfare laws in relation to companion animals.

"In its day, the Protection of Animals Act 1911 was state of the art but it was written before anyone had begun to consider the need for viewing good animal welfare in the round.

"We need practical laws that underpin the principles of responsible pet ownership. The question for pet owners and law enforcers alike has moved on from 'Is the animal being treated cruelly?' to 'Is the animal being properly looked after?"

DEFRA is also reviewing the UK's position in relation to the Council of Europe's Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals. Many of the issues covered by the Convention have been raised in DEFRA's public consultation on animal welfare legislation.

Mr Morley said:

"Now would be a good time to look again at the Convention. It is too early to speculate on where we go from here - but a review, tying in with our own consultation would seem logical."

End of Press Release.

The CDB has issued a Press Release in reply: