I met this morning with Stephanie and Arthur from Humane Society International to discuss a number of important animal welfare issues.
2021 has the potential to be a bumper year for animal welfare legislation, and I am pleased that the Prime Minister believes animal welfare is a priority. The UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and it is right for us to cement our status as a global leader by continuing to raise the bar. All animals should be subject to the highest possible welfare standards and I know the Government is working hard to strengthen our position as a world leader in this field now that the Transition Period has ended.
We spoke further about the trophy hunting campaign, and I support their calls for the strongest ban possible. We hope to receive an update in the coming weeks.
We also briefly discussed banning the importation of shark fins, and the compulsory microchipping of cats - these are both issues that have been raised through the Petitions Committee, and I look forward to seeing them brought forward for debate. I have been working closely with Cats Protection, the RSPCA, and other animal welfare groups in support of cat microchipping.
Also discussed was the issue of glue traps which, whilst designed to trap pests like rats and mice, too often end up trapping other species, including protected and/or rare ones. Indeed, I understand that 73 per cent of reports to the RSPCA about glue traps do not involve rats or mice, and sadly these involve great suffering for the animals involved including broken limbs, fur/skin pulled off, and so on. I will be writing to the relevant Minister about glue traps, and asking what steps the Government is taking to review their use.
Finally, we spoke about the bans of live animal exports which I very much support. A public consultation has now been carried out which will deliver on the manifesto commitment I was elected on to end excessively long journeys for animals for slaughter and fattening. I understand that Ministers will now consider the consultations findings, with the view of having legislation in place by the end of the year.
I will always be a champion for animal welfare, and will continue to work with organisations to press for higher standards.