The Queen’s Speech 2021 on Animal Welfare

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The Queen’s Speech on 11th May 2021 specifically referenced the UK government’s commitment to promoting higher standards of animal welfare.

In the speech, the Queen said:

Legislation will also be brought forward to ensure the United Kingdom has, and promotes, the highest standards of animal welfare [Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, Kept Animals Bill, Animals Abroad Bill].

This references the Government’s ‘Action Plan for Welfare’ which covers a number of key points to be aware of in relation to improving animal welfare standards in the UK:

  • Recognising the sentience of animals – basically understanding that animals have the ability to feel pain, suffering and have feelings – by putting it into law (Animal Welfare Sentience Bill)
  • Ending the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter, so that animals will no longer be transported on long, tortuous journeys just to be slaughtered abroad on arrival, under slaughtering conditions which don’t come up to even our own welfare standards in the UK (which still need to be improved).
  • The Government has said it is committed to taking ‘further steps’ to limit foie gras trade – but who knows what that means in reality and isn’t an outright commitment to banning it!
  • Commitment to introduce more effective powers to target livestock worrying by dogs
  • Stopping people keeping primates as pets
  • Improving welfare standards in zoos
  • ‘Cracking down’ on puppy smuggling
  • Mandatory microchipping for cats
  • Banning the import of hunting trophies
  • Stopping advertising for holidays/trips to go trophy hunting abroad
  • Ban the Ivory trade in the UK


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