You can give dogs and cats a voice at the General Election

03 Jun 2024

What does the General Election mean for animals? 

A General Election is coming, and with it the opportunity to put dogs and cats on the political agenda.  

The current Government finalised some of its animal welfare legislation before the election but has run out of time to deliver all the legal changes that Battersea supports. The good news is that, aided significantly by Battersea, dog and cat abduction has become a specific offence, with the Pet Abduction Bill becoming law. This recognises that dogs and cats are not just property, they are part of the family.  

But unfortunately, the Renters Reform Bill, which would have made renting with pets more accessible, and the Dogs, Cats, and Ferrets Imports Bill, which would have cracked down on puppy and kitten smuggling, have not made it into law. We need to press for their return so the new government gets these important changes done, and you can help us do it. 


We need your help to campaign for change  

Join us in calling for the next government to prioritise animal welfare to ensure a better future for every dog and cat. Together, we can use our voices to call for action on these four important areas:


1. Puppy & kitten smuggling

We want to see the end of puppy and kitten smuggling and stop the suffering from the start. Illegally imported dogs and cats are not only at risk of disease themselves but could also risk spreading or introducing diseases to animals and humans. Dogs may also be imported into the UK with cropped ears, a cruel mutilation done for no reason other than appearance, that can provide a smokescreen for this illegal practice to continue in the UK. 

We will be calling for the next government to crack down on:

  • Illegal imports of puppies and kittens.
  • Imports of animals with mutilations that are already illegal in this country, like cropped ears, which are done purely for cosmetic purposes – otherwise we are just exporting the problem.  

We also want to see that animal welfare laws are enforced and to ensure that licensing properly safeguards animals. Many of these measures were part of Bills that were not completed by Parliament before the election – we will be pushing the new government to protect animals by ensuring these important changes are not delayed any longer.  


2. Pet friendly properties

We've made real progress keeping people and their pets together through our Pet Friendly Properties campaign but, particularly with the fall of the Renters Reform Bill, we still have more to do. And we will do more. We’re calling for the next government to reform housing laws, either by bringing back the relevant parts of the Renters Reform Bill or through a completely new law, so more people can stay with their pets.  


3. Unscrupulous breeding

At Battersea, we believe that pets are companions not commodities, yet we see many animals that have been bred to have extreme or unhealthy features. We’re calling on the next government to clamp down on breeders that are profiting from suffering, through enforcement and improvements to licensing, and to work with us to help prospective pet owners make better-informed decisions. 


4. Safety around dogs

As an animal lover, you know how special the bond between humans and dogs is. That's why we need to ask the next government to work with us on effective regulation and responsible pet ownership through training and education.   We need a more comprehensive approach to promoting public safety around dogs, which is based on evidence and understanding of what really causes dog attacks. Battersea wants to see a full-scale reform of the laws around dangerous dogs, protecting people from tragic dog attacks while preserving animal welfare.    

Get involved

Here’s how you can best use your voice for dogs and cats at the General Election.


Share our message

Share posts about the election from Battersea on your social media channels. We want as many people as possible to know about our campaigns. Together, our voice is louder. 

If you don’t already, follow our social media accounts to stay up to date on our latest General Election campaign posts:


Ask your candidates about the issues

Ahead of the election, your local candidates will be out and about in your area trying to get your vote. Please consider taking the opportunity to ask them about our four focus areas and let them know we’re happy to share more information on them if they’re interested. 


How will you ensure that animal welfare – and particularly dogs and cats – isn't forgotten in this General Election and is on the agenda for the incoming government?



Puppy and kitten smuggling causes great suffering – both to pets and their future owners. It also risks the introduction of disease into this country and can be a smokescreen for illegal mutilations such as ear cropping. However, plans to tackle it in the last Parliament fell before the election.

If elected, will you commit to bringing back the Imports Bill that would clamp down on this cruel trade?



Around 20% of people in this country rent their home. Doing so shouldn’t exclude them from the joys of pet ownership – and people shouldn’t fear having to give up their beloved pet if their living arrangements change.

If elected, will you commit to backing a law that gives people who rent their homes a fair chance of having a pet?



Pets should be companions not commodities, yet unscrupulous breeders are trading in misery, prioritising profit over welfare and playing a key role in both the demand and supply of dogs and cats with ever more extreme physical characteristics – causing long term suffering for both pets and their owners.

If elected, will you commit to ensuring that animal welfare regulations are improved, effectively funded and enforced, to stop suffering from the start?



There has been a tragic rise in dog attacks, which cannot be allowed to continue. Yet there is no evidence to suggest that banning breeds has ever reduced dog attacks – while it has devastating consequences for pet owners and the rescue sector.

If elected, would you work with the animal welfare sector to review the law and develop new, effective measures that will keep people safe without punishing innocent pets?

Have your say

Voting in the General Election means you can use your voice to make a difference. You need to be registered to vote by 18 June to be ready to vote in the General Election.  

Not sure whether you’re registered to vote? Contact your local Electoral Registration Office to check.

If you are not registered to vote you can either register online, or you can print and fill in a form and post it to your local electoral registration office. If you are not able to vote in person at the time of the election, you can apply to vote by post. Alternatively, you can apply to vote by proxy, which is when you get someone else to vote on your behalf.  

Remember, you now need to show photo ID when voting in person at the General Election. See a list of accepted types of photo ID.

What Battersea will do next

  • We have invited the representatives of all the major political parties who are responsible for animal welfare to take a tour of our site and engage with our four focus issues.  
  • We are helping local rescues with links to Battersea to host their local MPs and candidates, giving them an understanding of the work of rescues and the impact of welfare issues in their constituencies.  

Each of these activities will be key not only to representing animal welfare during the election campaign, but also to making sure newly elected MPs are aware of the importance of these issues right from the start of their time in Parliament.

Thank you! Together we can give dogs and cats a voice at the General Election.  

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