Animal Welfare

I have consistently campaigned for stronger laws against those who cause animals pain and inflict suffering needlessly. In June 2015 I was named Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare, and served in this role until the 2019 General Election. From 2020 to 2024, I served as a Vice Chair of the Group, as I continued to highlight the need for greater animal protections.

In 2015 I led a House of Commons debate on the importance of CCTV in UK slaughterhouses; this is an issue I have pursued in Parliament and was delighted when the Government adopted this as law.

I have additionally called for the end of live exports of animals for slaughter, and welcome the Government’s action to launch a call for evidence on this important animal welfare issue.

This is an issue I have continued to work on including in my role as a Patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation.

More recently we have also seen action on increasing sentences for animal cruelty tenfold to five years, banning of back street puppy breeders, ending the third party sales of puppies, and publishing updated animal welfare codes.

In June 2018, I was pleased to lead a House of Commons debate calling for a ban on imports of foie gras; a ‘product’ derived from fatty livers of ducks or geese after they have been force-fed maize repeatedly, by having a metal tube inserted down their throats two or three times a day.

While domestic production of foie gras is thankfully banned in this country, the importing of it is still allowed – a double standard we need to put right. After leaving the EU’s single market, Britain is able to make this decision to ban imports of this so-called delicacy. I urge the Government to take this action in line with the progress we have seen in recent years on other areas of animal rights.

I have also served on the Public Bill Committee of the Government’s Ivory Bill. This legislation is now helping protect the approximately 20,000 elephants slaughtered each year for their ivory.

In September 2021 I introduced my Hen Caging (Prohibition) Bill, also known as Beatrice’s Bill after a rescued hen, which would have banned the use of cages for laying hens.

I also tabled an amendment to the Government’s Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill in January 2022 which would protect end of lay hens from rough handling while loading for transport and ensure better welfare conditions during travel.

My Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill, which sought to ban British hunters from bringing 'trophies' of endangered and vulnerable animals into Great Britain, was approved by the House of Commons in March 2023, before falling in the House of Lords.

In May 2024, the Animal Welfare (Live Exports) Act 2024 received royal assent. This bans the export of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses for slaughter and fattening from Great Britain: a cause I had pursued for many years.


Henry Smith MP calls on Parliament to park the politics on animal welfare

Henry Smith MP has called on the Government (on Wednesday, 21st June) to ensure that measures previously announced in the now-withdrawn Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill will still be delivered, and has issued a call to parliamentarians to ‘park the politics’ on animal welfare matters.