My ministerial colleagues and I are committed to the highest standards of animal welfare, both here in the UK and internationally. In line with setting a global example on animal welfare, Ministers also want to make sure that money from tourists from this country is channelled towards animal experiences abroad that practice the highest welfare and conservation standards.
The Government supports the Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill sponsored by Angela Richardson MP, which will prohibit the sale and advertising of activities abroad which involve low standards of welfare for animals. I am aware that this Bill has had its Second Reading and I will continue to support this Bill as it progresses through Parliament.
I understand that Ministers have been considering how to reduce the availability and visibility of unacceptably low welfare experiences to tourists from the UK when making decisions about which activities to undertake when abroad. Such activities, attractions and experiences are unacceptable and it would be better for tourists from our own country to opt to visit higher welfare attractions and experiences abroad.
The Association of British Travel Agents has published guidance and lists activities which have been classified as unacceptable. I would strongly encourage all holidaymakers to research activities before taking part and consider the potential impact on animals and wildlife.
More broadly, the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill was introduced to Parliament as a Private Member’s Bill in June 2022. The Government fully supports this Bill, which will ban the import of hunting trophies for specific species. The Bill includes a power to add or remove species from the scope of the ban which will ensure that the Bill remains comprehensive and can achieve its aims. I welcome that this Bill recently had its Second Reading in the House of Commons and I look forward to supporting it as it continues to progress through the House.
Finally, I would actively encourage tourists to report any animal welfare concerns to their UK tour operator or travel agent on return to the UK.