Julie Cooper MP has welcomed Labour’s plan to launch a consultation on its new Animal Welfare Plan which has been endorsed by the League against Cruel Sports, Compassion in World Farming, and WWF.
Labour's radical action on animal welfare would look at introducing a ban on the live export of animals for slaughter, consult landlords on giving tenants the right to keep a pet, strengthen the Hunting Act, enshrine the principal of animal sentience in law, end the badger cull, implement a review of animal testing, and expand affordable vet care for people on low incomes.
The 50-point draft policy document - titled ‘Animal Welfare For The Many, Not The Few’ - will go out for public consultation and proposes appointing an Animal Welfare Commissioner to ensure Government policy across Whitehall is continually informed by the latest scientific evidence on animal sentience and ensure animal welfare standards are always considered in new legislation and are maintained in Britain’s involvement in international bodies and post-Brexit trade deals.
“Never has the future of animal welfare looked so uncertain under this Conservative government," said the Member of Parliament for Burnley. "Too often animal welfare policy is dictated by ‘campaign of the month’ and is haphazard and piecemeal in approach.
“Our Animal Welfare Plan sets out an ambitious vision for excellence in farm animal welfare with a plan to end out-dated practices that severely restrict natural animal behaviour," she added. “Labour’s vision is one where no animal is made to suffer unnecessary pain and degradation and where we continue to drive up standards and practice in line with the most recent advances and understanding.”
Sue Hayman MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, went on to say: “Labour is widely recognised as the party of animal welfare. From bringing in the ban on fox hunting, to tightening the rules on the transport of live animals, Labour has been consistent in our leadership on matters of animal welfare.
“Today we’re making proposals for real, long-term progress," she added. "Our vision is one where no animal is made to suffer unnecessary pain and we continue to drive up standards and practice in line with the most recent advances and understanding.
“Our plan seeks an inclusive approach, for the many, not the few, with proposals including widening access and affordability of veterinary care, new rights for tenants and their pets and the ability of those in care homes to be able to keep their pets.
“With new trade deals on the horizon and the UK no longer subject to EU-wide rules on animal welfare, we want to ensure there is a comprehensive legislative agenda in place so that the UK becomes a world leader on animal rights.”
Labour’s Defra Team will be holding a series of round-tables and engagement events over the coming weeks.