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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Concerns were raised that these laws could be weakened, repealed or replaced following the election or Brexit.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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Endangered turtle born at London Zoo

News Story 1
 An endangered spiny hill turtle has become the first of its kind to hatch at ZSL London Zoo - just in time for World Turtle Day (23 May).

Zookeepers filmed the moment the turtle came out of its shell on a time lapse camera, after keeping a watchful eye on the egg during its 136 day incubation period.

The turtle weighed a tiny 33g at birth and measured just 61mm, although it will eventually grow to around 27cm in size. 

News Shorts
Melissa Donald elected president of BVA Scottish Branch

RCVS Council member Melissa Donald has been elected for a two-year term as president of BVA’s Scottish Branch. She said she was “honoured” to be elected and hopes to provide a strong voice for veterinary surgeons, particularly at a national level. One of her first tasks will be to give evidence to the Scottish government on tail shortening of dogs, before parliament votes on whether to change the current legislation.

Melissa graduated from Glasgow veterinary school and worked as a production animal vet at Iowa State University, USA, for three years, before returning to Ayrshire to work in mixed practice. She then spent 25 years developing a small animal practice with her husband and has been involved with the BVA for many years. Recently, she took the decision to step back from clinical practice and currently runs a smallholding in the Ayrshire Hills.