The British government has said it will strengthen animal welfare standards as it gains greater powers since leaving the European Union.
It said on Wednesday that it would ban the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening, and formally recognise animals as sentient beings with feelings as part of its post-Brexit welfare plan.
The law will also review the use of battery cages for egg-producing poultry, and birthing crates for pigs.
The new “Animal Sentience Bill” will be introduced to parliament on Thursday.
For pets, the law will aim to tackle puppy smuggling; introduce microchipping for cats; crack down on pet theft; and ban remote controlled training “e-collars”.
A taskforce to crack down on pet theft will be set up as the pandemic has seen thieves stealing “companion” pets to blackmail their lonely, locked-down owners.
The bill also makes provisions for animals outside the UK by including bans on the sale of ivory, importing hunting trophies from endangered animals, and the import and export of detached shark fins.
The government also intends to improve farm animal welfare during transport; and give police more power to protect livestock from dogs that are not under control.
“We are a nation of animal lovers and were the first country in the world to pass animal welfare laws,” said environment minister George Eustice. “Animal welfare will not be compromised in all our future trade negotiations. As an independent nation we are now able to go further than ever to build on our excellent track record.”
Farmers will be incentivised to improve animal welfare through future farming policy which will see farmers paid to improve animal health and welfare and slow the rise of anti-microbial resistance.
The government says it is working closely with industry to “transform future farming policy” through the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, which aims to “forge a new deal” between the government and farmers.