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Party leaders urged to defend animal welfare laws
caged dog
‘All parties should deliver meaningful action to deliver on the UK’s desired identity as a world leader in animal welfare'.
Calls for five-year jail terms for animal cruelty

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Concerns were raised that these laws could be weakened, repealed or replaced following the election or Brexit.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.’

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New app to improve street dog welfare

News Story 1
 A new free app will support vital work in clinics caring for stray dogs around the world, experts say. Created by the University of Edinburgh, the tool allows vets to track the wellbeing of dogs going through catch-neuter-return schemes, which are common in countries with large numbers of strays.

Vets say the welfare of individual dogs can be overlooked during the process of capture, transport or surgery. The app, piloted across Asia and Africa, helps staff to monitor welfare, spot signs of distress and develop strategies to improve care. It was launched at BSAVA Congress on Friday 6 April.  

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Farm to fork traceability championed in new service

Defra has created a new information service to offer farm to fork traceability when the UK leaves the EU. The Livestock Information Service, which is set to be operational from 2019, will identify and track animal movements via electronic IDs, meaning the industry and government are better placed to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “This service will be instrumental in improving traceability and providing guarantees to consumers about the origin of their food. NFU President Minette Batters, among others, has helped lead the way on this, showing how it will drive a progressive and vibrant livestock industry once we leave the EU.”