Knight Presses for Action on Puppy Farms
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight has raised in Parliament the issues of puppy farming and low-welfare pet imports.
In response to a question asked by Sir Greg, the Minister of State at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Victoria Prentis MP responded that the government takes the issue of low-welfare and illegal supply of puppies “very seriously”.
She revealed that DEFRA has a national communications campaign to raise awareness of the illegal supply of pets, and that a Pet Advertising Advisory Group has been created to combat growing concerns about the “irresponsible advertising of pets for sale, rehoming and exchange”
The Minister promised that the government will continue to crack down on puppy smuggling via the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which is currently going through the House of Commons. This Bill will introduce restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movement of pets into Great Britain and will give ministers the power to introduce new restrictions on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds.
She said: “The government has already launched a consultation on proposed restrictions on the movement of pets into Great Britain, including banning the movement into Great Britain of puppies under six months old and dogs which have been subjected to cruel practices such as ear cropping or tail docking.”
Speaking following the government’s response, Sir Greg said: “I am pleased that the minister has given such a comprehensive response to me. It is clear that we need to do more to improve
animal welfare in this country, particularly with regard to low-welfare care or illegal puppy farming and pet imports.
“I am reassured that the government has several initiatives in the pipeline that will crack down on these practices.”
Greg Welcomes Move Towards New Pet Theft Law
A new criminal offence for pet theft looks set to be introduced under Government plans to crack down on pet thieves, following a rise in pets being stolen during the Covid19 pandemic.
The new law, which has been urged upon the government by a number of MP’s, including Sir Greg, will recognise the welfare of animals and that pets are valued as more than mere property.
Sir Greg has welcomed the step towards creating the new offence following recommendations published by the government’s Pet Theft Task force.
The Task Force has considered evidence from academics, campaign groups and animal welfare organisations as well as being urged to act by Members of Parliament.
Sir Greg said: ‘We do need to make it easier for the police to track pet abduction incidents and catch offenders.’
The plans include proposals to make pet microchip databases more accessible for pet owners and a single point of access to all databases will simplify and streamline the system.
Sir Greg said: ‘These proposals, when implemented, will make it harder for thieves to steal and sell pets and will make it easier for police to catch the cruel perpetrators. In addition, courts will be guided to ensure that the impact on the pet owners and the animal is reflected in the tougher sentences given.’
MP Backs New ‘Pet Abduction’ Law
The creation of a proposed offence of ‘pet abduction’ to enable the courts to impose stiffer sentences on those who steal beloved pets, is now set to be introduced following a Parliamentary campaign. The move is being welcomed by East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight.
Greg says: ‘Pet thefts in the UK, particularly of dogs, have increased by almost a fifth during the Coronavirus pandemic with on average, up to 7 pets a day being reported stolen last year according to official police figures.’
‘Plans to tighten up the law and increase the punishment imposed have my full backing.’
Under legislation being drawn up by the Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland MP, the new offence will take into account the fact that stealing a family pet is more than just theft, but also causes distress for the family and can also be cruel to the animal involved.
Greg adds: ‘A purpose-made new offence will mean all those who steal pets will face tougher sentences automatically. One of the problems has been that although offences under the Theft Act do carry a maximum term of 7 years imprisonment, there is no evidence that the courts have treated the offences with that level of seriousness. This is partly because when deciding upon sentencing, under our existing laws, the penalty imposed is largely determined by the monetary value of the property stolen and does not take proper account of the emotional stress and distress also involved.
The change in the law is now likely to go ahead when the House of Commons returns from recess in Autumn 2021.
Tough Animal Welfare Measure Set to Become Law
A Parliamentary Bill to increase penalties for the country’s worst animal abusers has moved a step nearer to becoming law.
The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill, has passed all its stages in the House of Commons this month (12th March 2021). The measure, co-sponsored by East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight, will introduce tougher prison sentences for those found guilty of animal cruelty, by increasing the penalty from a maximum jail term of 6 months, to one of five years.
Responding to the Bill’s progress, Sir Greg said: “This is good news. It will deter abuse and lead to the better treatment of animals. It is a serious step forward.”
Greg adds: “For too long, the worst animal abusers have got away with a slap on the wrist, but that will soon end. We are a nation of animal-lovers, and the public rightly want those who treat their pets, or other animals badly, to be punished appropriately. Longer jail sentences will act as a deterrent too”.
The Private Members’ measure, introduced by Chris Loder, MP and backed by Sir Greg, is the latest move at Westminster to promote animal welfare.
Greg Renews Calls for Sky Lantern Ban
Greg is calling for a UK-wide ban on sky lanterns.
Sir Greg told the House of Commons that the lanterns are “hazardous airborne litter that invariably lands on someone else’s property”. He is calling for government action to ban them.
The lanterns, which are often released to celebrate special occasions, look momentarily pretty in the sky but the Government is already discouraging their use because they create unwanted litter and pose a fire risk. Sir Greg is now calling on the Government to go one step further and ban their use.
Replying to Sir Greg’s call, the Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg, whilst acknowledging his own constituents had raised concerns about sky lanterns, expressed a reluctance to introduce a ban.
Sir Greg disagrees and says that a full ban is the only answer: “In Germany sky lanterns actually started a fire at a zoo which killed many exotic animals. If we do not take firmer action here in the UK it is only a matter of time until another disaster strikes.”
“I am calling for the law to be changed now because I think we need to introduce a specific ban to deal with this problem. These lanterns are potentially lethal litter.”
Knight Backs Sky Lantern Ban
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight has renewed his calls for the public to stop using Chinese Sky Lanterns and is calling for them to be banned.
Although the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is also now urging people to steer clear of using them, DEFRA is stopping short of backing an outright ban.
Sir Greg says: “Sky lanterns can harm or kill animals, either by ingestion or by starting fires. They also put farmers crops at risk of being set on fire and destroyed.”
He adds: “These lanterns all come to earth somewhere -usually on someone else’s land, and whilst they may look momentarily pretty in the sky, they soon become dangerous debris across the countryside. There are many ways to commemorate special occasions and other, better, ways to celebrate and thank our NHS workers, without creating unwanted litter or posing a fire risk – so I’m urging everyone to give sky lanterns a miss – especially now, whilst our emergency services are already stretched.”
“I am also calling for the law to be changed because I think we need to introduce a specific ban to deal with this problem. After all, these lanterns are, in reality, potentially lethal litter.”
Knight says: ‘Ban Sky Lanterns’
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight has renewed his calls for people to stop using Chinese Sky Lanterns, following the latest tragedy, this time at a German zoo, where lanterns started a blaze which destroyed premises and killed many exotic primates.
Sir Greg says: “This problem exists not just in Germany but also here. Sky lanterns can harm or kill animals, either by ingestion or by starting fires. They also put farmers crops at risk of being set alight and destroyed.
He adds: “These lanterns all land somewhere and whilst they may look momentarily pretty in the sky, they soon become potentially dangerous litter across the countryside. There are many ways to celebrate special occasions that don’t create unwanted litter or pose a fire risk – so I’m urging everyone to give sky lanterns a miss.”
The MP adds: “I am calling for the law to be examined in the new Parliament to see if we need to introduce a specific ban. After all, they are, in reality, potentially lethal litter.”
The National Farmers Union has previously said it is opposed to their continued use.