Animal Welfare Cats (March 2023)

"Thank you for contacting me about cats.


The UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and it is only right that we continue to improve our world-leading standards. While I have noted your suggestion for cats to be included in any proposals relating to pet smuggling, and my ministerial colleagues recognise that animal welfare campaigners have called for this, I am informed that criminal offences already exist for cats and kittens brought into this country in breach of current import requirements.


In August 2021, the Government carried out a consultation on proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. The consultation sought views on whether maintaining the existing requirements in relation to cats was the right approach. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has been carefully reviewing the feedback from this consultation and has also engaged more widely with animal welfare organisations, including Cats Protection. I look forward to reading the summary of responses to the consultation in due course.  


I am assured that the Government remains fully committed to delivering its manifesto commitments on animal welfare. I am aware that the Kept Animals Bill, introduced in June 2021, faced the risk of scope-creep. In light of this, and the successful progress made so far with single-issue legislation, the Government will be taking forward the measures originally in the Kept Animals Bill individually when parliamentary time allows. Ministers believe this to be the quickest and most effective way of achieving the Government's aims for animal welfare.


The Animal Welfare (Import of Dogs, Cats and Ferrets) Bill, sponsored by Selaine Saxby, seeks to tackle the unlawful dog, cat, and ferret smuggling trade. The Bill aims to introduce stringent measures to regulate the import of the titled pets, ensuring their health and safety during transportation and deterring illegal trade practices. Its Second Reading is scheduled for Friday 15th March. I am supportive of the ambitions of the Bill and will follow any developments relating to this Bill closely.


Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.


Yours sincerely,


Sally-Ann Hart MP”