HC Deb 07 March 2000 vol 345 c565W
Mr. Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to encourage local authorities to use the options of(a) restriction of species range and (b) restriction of numbers under the Pet Animals Act 1951; and if he will make a statement. [112561]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

The Government keep under review legislation on animals, but have not announced any plans to change it. Existing legislation bears on the range of species and number of animals which can be sold in pet shops.

Pet shops are licensed by local authorities under the Pet Animals Act 1951 (as amended in 1983), and subject to licence conditions to safeguard the health and welfare of the animals in their charge. In considering whether to grant a licence to run a pet shop, a local authority will need to satisfy itself that the welfare of the animals will not be compromised. The species and numbers of animals will have a direct bearing on the overall welfare conditions.

In addition, certain endangered animals imported for the pet trade are also protected under European Wildlife Regulations, which implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Some exotic pets can be lawfully sold to people only subject to stringent licence controls imposed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, and there are statutory restrictions on trade in United Kingdom wildlife species. It is also an offence under the Protection of Animals Act 1911 to cause unnecessary suffering to any domestic or captive animal.

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