New powers to crack down on puppy smuggling and increased protections for farm animals will be brought in under new legislation set to be introduced by the government in Parliament today (June 8).

The new Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill will improve welfare standards through a wide range of measures for pets, farmed and kept wild animals, including through a ban on keeping primates as pets.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill will raise animal welfare standards in five key areas.

Puppy smuggling

The government will introduce new powers to tackle the unethical trade of puppy smuggling by reducing the number of pets (dogs, cats and ferrets) that can travel under pet travel rules.

It will also include powers for the government to bring in further restrictions on the movement of pets on welfare grounds, for example by increasing the minimum age of imported puppies and restricting the import of pregnant dogs and dogs with mutilations such as cropped ears and tails.

Live exports

The UK is set to become the first European country to ban live exports for slaughter and fattening which was announced on May 12.

Banning keeping primates as pets

The government said that since primates are highly intelligent animals with complex needs and require specialist care, they will deliver on its commitment to introduce a ban on keeping them as pets.

This ensures that all primates being kept privately in England are being kept at zoo-level standards and that those unable to meet the standards are phased out.

Livestock worrying

The bill will give new powers to the police to provide greater protection to livestock from dangerous and out of control dogs.

The bill will also extend this protection to other species such as llamas, ostriches and game birds.


The Zoo Licensing Act will be amended to improve zoo regulations and ensure that zoos are doing more to contribute to conservation.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said:

"The Kept Animals Bill will bring in some of the world’s highest and strongest protections for pets, livestock and kept wild animals.

As an independent nation outside the EU we are now able to go further than ever on animal welfare by banning the export of live animal exports for slaughter and fattening, prohibiting keeping primates as pets and bringing in new powers to tackle puppy smuggling.

"This builds on the launch of our Action Plan for Animal Welfare and Animal Sentience Bill last month as part of our work to build on our status as a world leader on animal welfare."