As an owner of two dogs and an animal lover myself, please be assured that I recognise the importance of this issue. I also welcome that the UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and the Government is fully committed to delivering its manifesto commitments on animal welfare.
The practice of non-exempted mutilations such as cropping dogs' ears is abhorrent and has rightly been banned in the UK for 15 years. The cropping of a dog’s ears is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Now that the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 has come into force, anyone convicted of such an offence, faces being sent to prison for up to five years, or receiving an unlimited fine, or both.
However, I am aware that the importation of dogs with non-exempted mutilations such as cropped ears or docked tails is still allowed under the current pet travel rules. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) ran a consultation on changes to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain, which included a proposal to ban the import of dogs with cropped ears. Defra is carefully reviewing the feedback gathered from the consultation. I look forward to reading the Government’s response in due course.