The UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and it is right for us to cement our status as a global leader by continuing to raise the bar. All animals should be subject to the highest possible welfare standards.
It is very encouraging that the Prime Minister believes animal welfare is a priority. I know that the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs agrees, and is keen to set ambitious animal welfare goals, in particular seeking to reward farmers for environmental stewardship and improving the health and welfare of animals.
There is no place in this country for animal cruelty, and we must ensure that those who abuse animals are met with the full force of the law. I am therefore pleased that the Government remains committed to introducing legislation which will increase maximum sentences for animal cruelty from six months to five years' imprisonment. I am also pleased to report that a new law passed earlier this year will ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. The Government will also be running consultations on proposals to ban long journeys of live animals being transported for slaughter, and restrictions on trade in hunting trophies from endangered animals.
The Government has been clear it will not compromise the high quality of British food or agricultural standards in any free trading relationship and is committed to maintaining high standards on animal welfare and food safety now that the UK has left the EU. The Animal and Plant Health Agency takes potential breaches of animal welfare legislation and codes very seriously and investigates all allegations. Where welfare regulations are breached, appropriate action will always be taken.