The Labour Party has called for a ban on third party puppy sales and a comprehensive review of animal testing as part of its strategy for improving animal welfare in the United Kingdom.
The party’s 50-point policy document also sets out plans to enshrine the principle of animal sentience in law, strengthen the Hunting Act and give tenants more rights to keep a pet in their properties. Other ideas include expanding access to affordable veterinary care for people on low incomes and a ban on live exports for slaughter.
The move has been welcomed by the League Against Cruel Sports, which said that the plan would bring in much-needed protection for British wildlife.
“We warmly welcome Labour’s commitment to strengthening the Hunting Act 2004, and look forward to contributing to the consultation process,” said Eduardo Goncalves, CEO of the League Against Cruel Sports.
“It’s clear that hunts are routinely flouting the law and continuing to kill wildlife across Britain, whether that be through so-called ‘trail hunting’ or by exploiting legal loopholes. This must stop. An overwhelming majority – more than eight out of ten – of British people want to see an end to hunting, and we look forward to making that a reality.”
Compassion in World Farming, which has been lobbying the government to bring an end to caged farming, also welcomed the move.
“We are thrilled by this announcement from the Labour Party, which would revolutionise conditions for British farm animals. Compassion is non-partisan and ready to support every move to improve the conditions on farms," said director of campaigns, Emma Slawinski.
“We particularly welcome Labour's commitments to End the Cage Age, stop live exports, empower consumers with mandatory meat labelling, stop routine preventative use of antibiotics and use post-Brexit subsidies to move away from intensive factory farming and bad environmental practices. This could be the beginning of the end of cruel factory farming.”
The policy document, ‘Animal Welfare for the Many, Not the Few’, proposes appointing an Animal Welfare Commissioner to ensure that animal welfare standards are always considered in new legislation. It also proposes the mandatory labelling of meat, establishing an independent zoo inspectorate and ending the badger cull.
“Labour is 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 always been consistent in our leadership on matters of animal welfare," commented Sue Hayman MP, Labour’s shadow environment secretary.
“Today we’re making proposals for real, long-term progress. 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.
“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.”