The UK is a nation of animal lovers, with one in every two UK households owning a pet. Showing care and respect for animals is part of who we are and whilst we already have world leading animal welfare standards, I want to raise the bar.
As the Prime Minister has previously set out, we will continue to make the United Kingdom a world leader in the care and protection of animals as we leave the EU and deliver a Green Brexit that works not only for us, but the animals we care for.
We are delivering improvements in these standards right now. On Friday the Secretary of State for Defra has laid the necessary legislation in Parliament to deliver on our manifesto commitment and make CCTV mandatory in all abattoirs in England.
This will allow us to monitor compliance more effectively and reassure consumers that when they buy British meat it has been produced in accordance with the highest welfare standards. It also means bad practice can be identified and stopped by revoking licenses or launching a criminal investigation.
The government is raising standards in a number of other ways. Recently we launched a call for evidence on banning the third party sales of puppies as well as setting out plans to increase the maximum prison sentences for animal abusers from six months to five years and to recognise animal sentience in domestic law.
We are also taking strong action to make it completely illegal to sell puppies younger than eight weeks and tightening the regulations on dog breeding, as well as on animal boarding, performing animals and riding stables. From October this year, new restrictions on online dog sales will tackle misleading advertisements and unscrupulous activities where puppies are traded in car parks.
We already have strict laws in place to protect animals from unnecessary harm and suffering, and we want to ensure these are fit for purpose, up-to-date and can continue to be enforced effectively so all animals at all stages of life get the respect and care they deserve. As part of our reforms we are updating a number of welfare codes, including for cats, dogs and horses, making sure that owners and keepers have access to up-to-date guidance on how to comply with current legislation.
These actions will cement our position as a global leader in this area.
Lord Gardiner is the animal welfare minister and a Conservative peer in the House of Lords