The government is guilty of an ‘astonishing betrayal’ over animal welfare

Critics say government U-turn means tens of thousands of dogs, cats, kittens, sheep, calves and primates will still suffer without legal protection, writes Jane Dalton

Friday 26 May 2023 21:53 BST
<p>Sheep packed into a lorry</p>

Sheep packed into a lorry

Ministers and civil servants are fond of repeating the mantra that the UK is a world leader in animal welfare, and a raft of reforms were promised in both the Conservatives’ 2019 election manifesto, as well as in the party’s grand animal-welfare plan of 2021, announced to great fanfare.

They included a ban on exports abroad of live calves and sheep in cruel conditions for fattening and slaughter – widely touted as one of the big benefits of Brexit.

The promises also included a crackdown on puppy smuggling and pet theft, a ban on importing declawed cats and dogs with cropped ears, greater protection for sheep from dangerous dogs, a ban on keeping primates as pets and improved rules on zoo animal welfare.

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