Carrie Johnson fears that Rishi Sunak has ‘quietly shelved’ Boris’ law to fight puppy-smuggling despite manifesto commitment
- Animal Welfare Bill is yet to be passed despite being planned for September
- Mrs Johnson spoke yesterday of fears that the Bill had been abandoned by Sunak
- Government sources have indicated it is unlikely to be brought back soon
Carrie Johnson fears husband Boris’s law to stop puppy-smuggling has been quietly shelved – despite his manifesto pledge.
The Animal Welfare Bill, long campaigned for by Mrs Johnson, was to resume its passage through Parliament in September, but no date has been fixed for its return and Government sources have indicated it is unlikely to be brought back soon.
The Conservative Animal Welfare Forum (CAWF), with Mrs Johnson as patron, said yesterday it feared the Bill had been abandoned. It also bans the export of live animals for slaughter, plus the fattening and keeping of primates as pets, a campaign backed by stars including Stephen Fry.
The law would fulfil manifesto commitments made in 2019 by Mr Johnson and a pledge made by Mr Sunak during this summer’s leadership contest. It would also capitalise on Brexit freedoms, as Britain could not ban the export of live animals due to EU law on the free movement of goods.
Carrie Johnson (pictured with her dog Dilyn) fears husband Boris’s law to stop puppy-smuggling has been quietly shelved
The Bill has been delayed for more than a year and George Eustice, the former Environment Secretary who introduced it, said: ‘It enjoys near universal public support. The Prime Minister must stick to his leadership pledge and allow the Bill to resume its passage.’
CAWF co-founder Lorraine Platt said the delay was ‘disheartening and frustrating’. She added: ‘We are concerned the Bill may be lost. It is paramount it is not abandoned as this would jeopardise public trust in manifesto commitments.’
Dogs Trust veterinary director Paula Boyden said: ‘We have spent eight years exposing the abhorrent trade of puppy-smuggling.
‘Our investigations have revealed that smugglers are continuing to bring in thousands of underage puppies and pregnant dogs, often in the most dreadful conditions, while not providing for their needs.’
Sources said a decision on the Bill was imminent and warned it was hanging in the balance amid concerns about forcing restive Tory MPs to pass contentious laws. It was in limbo this spring after disagreement over how to deal with the issue of religious slaughter of animals.
Following an agreement to hold a call for evidence on wider slaughterhouse reform, the Bill, which has broad political support, was free to continue its passage in September.
There has long been concern about UK livestock being shipped to countries such as Lebanon, which is said to have low animal-welfare standards.
A Government source said it was not unusual for Bills to be carried over from a parliamentary session.
The source added that Ministers had been working with MPs, peers and partners to ensure that reforms work effectively.