The UK is gearing up to pass major animal rights legislation, called the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which addresses a wide range of animal welfare issues. According to UK environment minister Zac Goldsmith, who sponsored the bill, it is scheduled for passage into law later this year.
The bill will ban puppy smuggling, live animal exports, the holding of primates as pets, and livestock worrying (using intimidation with dogs to control livestock). The bill also creates stricter provisions for zoos, including preventing them from keeping elephants.
In the wild, elephants usually live between 60 and 70 years and walk up to 30 miles a day in search of food and shelter. In zoos, they are confined to small spaces and rarely live past 40.
Although it is unclear what will happen to elephants currently in captivity, experts anticipate that sanctuary arrangements will be made. In speaking about the bill, environment secretary George Eustice said, “The Kept Animals Bill will bring in some of the world’s highest and strongest protections for pets, livestock, and kept wild animals.”