New UK Law Bans Import of Declawed Cats and Tightens Welfare Rules

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Cats Protection has welcomed a new law which will ban the import of declawed cats and introduce tougher welfare rules to protect pets being bought into the UK for sale.

The charity says the Animal Welfare (Import of Cats, Dogs and Ferrets) Bill will bring with it much-needed restrictions on the animals which can be imported into the UK, including a ban on transporting heavily pregnant cats and kittens under six months old.

Annabel Berdy, Senior Advocacy & Government Relations Officer for Cats Protection, said: “The main winners from this new law will be the cats and kittens which are brought into the UK every year to be sold on as pets. It will mean that heavily pregnant cats and tiny kittens will no longer be subjected to long, stressful and potentially harmful journeys which could seriously impact their health and welfare.

“Modernising pet import laws is desperately needed to protect animals from being exploited, and will also protect buyers who may be duped into buying sick or poorly socialised animals which have been bred and kept in low welfare environments. This new law will help shine a light on this international pet trade where animals are brought into the UK simply for profit, with no regard for their wellbeing.”

As well as tightening controls on importing pregnant cats and young kittens, the new Bill will ban the import of cats which have been declawed – a practice which is already illegal to perform in the UK.

Annabel said: “Declawing is an abhorrent practice in which the claw and part of a bone is removed from each one of a cat’s toes. As anyone can imagine, this is painful and uncomfortable, and is likely to cause lifelong discomfort.

“All animals should be able to exhibit normal behaviours – and this is already enshrined in law with the Animal Welfare Act. Scratching is a normal behaviour, and cats which are not able to do this are likely to suffer distress for their entire lives. This is why declawing is already banned in the UK, and this new law will end the loophole which means declawed cats can be brought into the UK for onward sale.”


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