The Animal Survival International (formerly Political Animal Lobby) has welcomed last month’s launch by the British Labour Party of a draft policy document that promises radical action on animal welfare.
Included in the 50-point document titled “Animal Welfare for the Many, Not the Few” are plans to end the badger cull, close loopholes in the Hunting Act, and a commitment to work with animal welfare organisations to enable access to affordable veterinary care by pet owners on low incomes.
“ASI wholeheartedly supports this initiative by the Labour Party,” said the organisation’s spokesman, David Barritt.
“The UK is a nation of animal lovers and they deserve a government that takes animal welfare issues seriously. The badger cull, for example, is cruel and pointless. It has no chance of succeeding and yet it is costing British tax-payers millions of pounds per year.
The Labour Party’s draft policy document, which has been circulated for consultation, proposes the appointment of an animal welfare commissioner to ensure government policy is continually informed by the latest scientific evidence on animal sentience. The envisaged commissioner would also ensure that animal welfare standards are considered in new legislation and are maintained in Britain’s involvement in international bodies and post-Brexit trade deals.
Some of the policies included in the policy document are:
- Enshrining the principle of animal sentience in law, ensuring it covers all policy areas to prevent practices that expose animals to cruel and degrading treatment
- Strengthening the Hunting Act to close loopholes that allow illegal hunting
- Consult landlords on giving tenants the default right to keep pets unless there is evidence the animal is causing a nuisance
- Mandatory labelling of domestic and imported meat, including country of origin, method of production and slaughter (stun or non-stun)
- Establishing an independent zoo inspectorate to draw up revised standards of animal welfare
- Total ban on imports of Foie Gras
- Ending the badger cull
- Requiring motorists to report accidents where an animal has been injured
- Banning live exports of animals for slaughter or fattening and introducing mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses
- Designing post-Brexit farm subsidies to move away from intensive factory farming and bad environmental practices
- Prohibiting the third party sale of puppies and tackling puppy smuggling by reintroducing rabies testing before entry into the UK
- Working with organisations like the PDSA to expand accessibility to affordable vet care for pet owners on low incomes
- A comprehensive review of animal testing with a view to improving practice, limiting animal suffering and increasing transparency
- Introducing a ‘blue belt’ to protect and enhance the marine environment around the UK and our overseas territories