Party leaders urged to defend animal welfare laws
A coalition of animal welfare groups is urging all party leaders to protect and strengthen animal welfare laws, ahead of the General Election in June.
In an open letter to all election candidates, 21 charities and campaign groups call for a national database of those convicted of animal cruelty, as well as a five-year maximum jail term for these offences.
Candidates are also urged to protect laws such as the Animal Welfare Act, Hunting Act, Protection of Badgers Act, Wildlife and Countryside Act and the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations.
The laws protecting animals govern areas such as cruelty, the trade in endangered species, hunting and shooting, bird and habitat protection, live animal transport, animal experimentation, organised animal fighting and the commercial trade in animals.
Concerns were raised that these laws could be weakened, repealed or replaced following the election or Brexit. Signatories include the Born Free Foundation, International Fund for Animal Welfare and National Animal Welfare Trust.
Party leaders were also encouraged to tackle issues such as trophy hunting and whaling.
The letter reads: ’We have come together at this election to call upon all political parties to include a clear commitment in their manifestos to maintain and strengthen existing protections for the welfare of animals, reflecting science and society’s growing understanding of the physical and emotional needs of animals.
‘All parties should deliver meaningful action to deliver on the UK’s desired identity as a world leader in animal welfare, including delivering a complete ban on the ivory and rhino horn trade, and ensuring that the global commercial whaling ban remains in place, and—critically—ensuring that promoting higher animal welfare is an essential precondition of any existing and new UK trade deals post-Brexit.’