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17 October 2023 - Pet welfare and abuse - Oral evidence

Committee Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
Inquiry Pet welfare and abuse

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Start times: 2:00pm (private) 2:30pm (public)

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Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee investigates animal import risks

The Committee explores issues related to the legal and illegal importation of pets. MPs probe the biosecurity risks associated with animal importation and consider the welfare of imported pets.

Evidence submitted to the Committee as part of its pet welfare inquiry notes that while there is a criminal element in the animal import trade, the degree of large-scale organised crime involvement is unknown. Animals intended to be commercially bred or sold are often imported using pet passports and international organised criminals use false veterinary documentation to export animals.

Meeting details

At 2:00pm: Private discussion
Inquiry Pet welfare and abuse
At 2:30pm: Oral evidence
Inquiry Pet welfare and abuse
Chief Corporate and Public Affairs Officer at Getlink (Eurotunnel)
Director Port Health & Public Protection at Heathrow Animal Reception Centre
Port Operations Manager, Group Pet Travel Coordinator at Brittany Ferries
Head of EU Exit and Company Secretary at Port of Dover
At 3:30pm: Oral evidence
Inquiry Pet welfare and abuse
Chief Executive at Animal and Plant Health Agency
Director for Service Delivery at Animal and Plant Health Agency

Criminals are attracted to the trade as the risk of getting caught is low and even when caught, punishment is low compared to other offences. Together with this, large profits can be made. The Committee has heard how one dealer prosecuted by the RSPCA was earning £3 million annually. Taking this into consideration, the EFRA Committee will scrutinise the effectiveness of import regulations currently in place.

Additionally, the Committee will hear from witnesses from the Animal & Plant Health Agency and will examine whether the UK’s main animal health facility in Weybridge has sufficient capacity to effectively manage the risks of zoonotic disease outbreaks. MPs will consider the impact that the importation of animals could have on biosecurity risks to the UK in the future.


Room 6, Palace of Westminster

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