On animal welfare – six Labour pledges

One of the many political strands I have pursued over the years is animal rights. I am a member of the Labour Animal Welfare Society, and I have been pleased to support a number of other campaigning organisations, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

For an example see this – https://warelane.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/southend-west-candidate-supports-campaign-to-end-wildlife-crime/

I am pleased that Ed Miliband (Leader of the Labour Party) and Maria Eagle (Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) have made six pledges under the heading – Labour: Protecting Animals.

These pledges are

• Defend the Hunting ban
• Ban the use of wild animals in circuses
• End the Government’s ineffective and inhumane badger culls
• Improve the protection of dogs and cats
• Tackle wildlife crime and reduce animal cruelty on shooting estates
• Lead the fight against global animal cruelty

The last Labour Government achieved much to end the cruel and unnecessary suffering of animals: the banning of hunting with dogs, securing an end to cosmetic testing on animals, banning fur farming, and introducing the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

This is a legacy I am proud of, and I believe that only a Labour Government can be trusted on animal welfare issues.

Labour’s plan to protect animals

animal protection plan TW


BADGERI have been a supporter of animal welfare organisations for many years. I was treasurer of Fox in Parliament at one point, and have championed many anti-cruelty causes.

My views on the badger cull will not surprise anyone. Here is a website that I think is worth a visit, and a cause that is worth supporting: Badger Trust

On Boxing Day hunts

The media reports that a quarter of a million people turned out today to support Boxing Day hunts. Providing these are drag hunts and no animals are killed as a result then I personally have no issue with people engaging in this activity. Riding is a very enjoyable activity, especially in the company of friends, and to get out in the fresh air in our countryside is something marvellous.

However, there is something sinister on the horizon, and this is a likely commitment by the Conservatives to repeal the ban on hunting.

I support a number of animal welfare organisations, including IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare). They say, and I agree, that the Hunting Act is a workable piece of wildlife crime legislation; problems occur when it is not properly enforced. One of the main issues is hunts using trail hunting as a false alibi to avoid being prosecuted, and this needs to be addressed. The emphasis should be on enforcement of the Hunting Act – there should be no return to cruelty.

I am not for undermining country pursuits, and do understand the excitement and spectacle of a ride across countryside with dogs and horses. I just do not understand why this must include the barbarity that is the mindless slaughter of innocent wild animals for sport.

Animals and their welfare

I am involved in a number of campaigns, and animal rights is one of the fields I take a special interest in. My opinion is that civilised societies look after animals. I eat meat, use animal by-products, and see no problem with vermin control. I am ambivalent about animal experimentation. However, we should be as humane as possible, and certainly not use animal suffering as entertainment.

Here are a couple of websites that may interest readers. As in so many things there is a lot of grey in animal rights; nonetheless a commitment to avoiding as much cruelty and slaughter as is possible is not so much to ask. Besides, looking after the natural world also benefits mankind.

The Seal Protection Action Group campaigns to stop needless seal destruction. Of course, there will undoubtedly be circumstances when seals will have to be killed, but I can see no justification for the mass slaughter that is taking place in many parts of the world (including the United Kingdom). The celebrity supporters include a couple of Labour MPs.

Campaign Whale has a number of objectives, including the wish to “Preserve and strengthen the ban on commercial whaling, which is in danger of total collapse“. I can only describe much of the whaling activity as barbaric.

Animal testing is a tricky subject. We should not be testing cosmetics etc on animals, but as for medical experiments I confess to uncertainty. BUAV are certain where they stand, and I wish I could wholeheartedly endorse them. I cannot because I do think we should do whatever we can to cure all human diseases. However, from my discussions with BUAV they tell me that there are alternatives to testing using animals. The problem is that those who carry out the testing state that they need to have animal experimentation. The best I can offer in the debate is the desire to keep animal testing at a minimum.

Southend West Labour Candidate backs the Hunting Act

Hunt and houndsI smile as I recall that day, a decade ago, when a Labour Government finally ended the cruelty that was fox hunting. There can be no excuse for animal cruelty, and a measure of how civilised a society is in how it treats animals.

Today we can celebrate the 10 Year anniversary of Labour’s Hunting Act. However, the Conservative Party led by David Cameron wants to scrap the ban and bring back fox hunting.

Julian Ware-Lane said: “I hope that one day we can see the act tightened up, not it being removed from the statute book. We cannot allow this barbarity to return – it really would be a big step backwards.”

The Labour Party has a long and proud tradition of protecting and improving the rights of animals. It was ten years ago today (Tuesday 18th November) that the Labour Party finally ended the cruel and
inexcusable practice of hunting with dogs.

Unfortunately, David Cameron and the Conservatives are determined open up the debate again. The current Secretary of State for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Liz Truss, recently said that the Hunting Act was a ‘mistake’ and that she would ‘vote for a repeal’.

The Labour Party are clear that with Britain facing a cost of living crisis, this Conservative obsession to hold another vote in Parliament shows just out of touch they are with people’s day to day lives. The Hunting Act remains one of Labour’s proudest achievements and is widely supported across the country.

My views on shooting sports

I have been contacted to ascertain my views about shooting sports. This appears to be inspired by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation. I thought it would be useful to answer the questions on this blog.

I was asked to answer the following two questions:

1. Do you support shooting sports conducted according to the law and the current codes of practice?
Yes / No / Don’t Know

2. If elected would you join the All Party Group on Shooting and Conservation?
Yes / No / Don’t Know

I do not support the killing of animals for sport, and thus I cannot support the shooting of ‘game’ birds. Birds shot and eaten, humanely, do not trouble me. I do not understand why anyone thinks it acceptable to make a sport out of any animal’s suffering. I am no vegetarian, and do eat birds – usually chicken, turkey etc, but I have tried pheasant.

I would not stop shooting at targets or clay pigeons, although I confess to being nervous about guns.

I do uphold the law and I would, if elected, explore the possibility of changing the law as regards to shooting birds for fun.

I will not seek to join the All Party Group on Shooting and Conservation if elected, although I am prepared to find out more.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,845 other followers