In a Commons Westminster Hall Debate this week, Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, who is the only veterinary surgeon in the House of Commons, discussed the negative impacts of the pandemic on animal welfare. For example, the increase demand for pets as people are spending much more time at home has fuelled illegal trade in animals with them being traded and transported in terrible conditions. Dr Hudson was able to thank everyone in the veterinary and animal welfare charities sectors who have done so much to protect animal and health and welfare during the pandemic.
Dr Hudson went on to express concerns about abandonment of pets that are no longer wanted when lockdowns are over. Whilst praising the Government’s support for the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill, Dr Hudson suggests we could go further by raising the minimum age at which cats and dogs can be brought into the country to six months which will protect young animals from pet smuggling.
Dr Hudson commented:
“It was a pleasure to speak in this important debate on animal welfare. The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have reached all parts of society and that includes animals, from small animals to horses and livestock. Responsible animal ownership can lead to improved mental and physical health for both animal and owner but we must guard against the view that they are an accessory that can be changed on a whim. As part of my ongoing ‘Animal Welfare’ campaign I will continue to fight for high animal welfare standards and protecting against animal cruelty.”
Please find the full speech on Hansard at the following link: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-03-16/debates/CC89D1D1-D4D1-4FEB-8098-F9C5F59FCF97/Covid-19AnimalWelfare#contribution-52AAD5F4-05FF-4AE4-8F95-730998BAE584