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Defra to be quizzed on pet welfare

24 November 2023

Tuesday afternoon will see the Rt Hon Lord Benyon, Minister of State at Defra and Marc Casale, the Deputy Director for Animal Welfare at the Department, appear before the EFRA Committee at the final evidence session of its Pet Welfare and Abuse inquiry.

The Committee will revisit topics with Minister Benyon covered throughout the inquiry’s evidence sessions, including unlicensed breeders, the proliferation of canine fertility clinics, and the breeding and welfare of ‘designer’ dogs. The Committee will question the Minister on issues around pet importation including puppy smuggling, the import of dogs with cropped ears and docked tails, and the management of biosecurity risks. 

As well questions on domestic pets, the Committee will quiz witnesses on new legislation announced in the King’s Speech to ban the export of live animals for slaughter, as well as the Government’s withdrawal of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, and future plans to take forward proposed welfare measures.  

The Committee will use the hearing with Defra as an opportunity to follow up on questions over sector capacity and preparedness for potential issues arising from the upcoming XL bully ban. MPs will raise breed identification challenges, and whether there is a risk that dogs which are not XL bullies could be misidentified. 

The Committee will ask if current veterinary capacity is sufficient for the spaying, neutering or euthanising which the ban will require, and examine what might happen if vets refuse to euthanise healthy dogs.  


From 14.30 on Tuesday 28 November in Committee Room 6, Palace of Westminster 

  • The Rt Hon. the Lord Benyon, Minister of State, Defra
  • Marc Casale, Deputy Director for Animal Welfare, Defra

Further information

Image credit: Tyler Allicock/UK Parliament