The Labour Animal Welfare plan

The Labour Party has today published its animal welfare plan.  It’s pretty good.

Things that some will like (and others will hate) include:

  • expanding the definition of animal to include decapod crustaceans and cephalopods
  • prohibit the third-party sale of puppies
  • establish a full-time zoo inspectorate
  • mandatory labelling of meat to include country of origin and ‘stun’ or ‘non-stun’
  • close loopholes in Hunting Act that allow for hunting of foxes and hares
  • improve enforcement and prosecution rates for the persecution of birds of prey
  • end the badger cull
  • make illegal hunting and all wildlife crime a reportable offence.
  • ban wild animals in circuses.
  • introduce and enforce a total ban on ivory trading.
  • ban intensive rearing of game birds for shooting.
  • tackle the illegal wildlife trade and clamp down on trophy hunting.

There are many good things here, and the list is a lot longer than those I have selected.  This sets the bar higher than the current government has done, so it’s good to see an element of healthy competition between the two main political parties in England over being nice to animals. See this Guardian commentary.

If you look through the list you’ll see that there isn’t a lot of meat on the bones (as it were) and there are a few things listed that certainly aren’t really animal welfare issues (eg Introduce a ‘Blue Belt’ to protect and enhance our marine environment around the UK and overseas territories) but which are welcome nonetheless.

I wonder whether we will see a Labour Nature Conservation plan – which would be a rather more taxing document to produce.  I hope so, as this Animal Welfare plan is good but doesn’t cover all the ground needed by a long way.

However, it is good to see that the issues of bird of prey persecution are higher up in the Labour Party’s consciousness than ever before (and than at the last general election).  Wildlife crime is mentioned up front in th covering note of the plan and there is the suggestion (see above) to improve enforcement and prosecution rates for killing birds of prey – which are very much to be welcomed.

And so please consider having a look at the Labour Animal Welfare plan and then tell the Labour Party what you think of it.  I’m going to do that with a mixture of praise and suggestions for futher action. One of the suggestions for further actions will be a ban on driven grouse shooting. Imagine if everyone did that…


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3 Replies to “The Labour Animal Welfare plan”

  1. Not good enough just to end the Badger cull.It needs replacing with a plan to clear the disease from Cattle and Badgers also other wildlife if it is in other species.

  2. Great to see Labour coming out of their corner at last - I hope the time it has taken is because they have been thinking hard rather than fighting each other. Certainly their challenge over land values and housing is spot on, too.

    This policy is thoughtful, with a lot of good, clear and right arguments.

    I'm not sure their conservation policy need be that difficult - as long as they go for revolution, not evolution. We're in the Irishman's position - if we want to go where we need to go, we don't want to be starting from here. the EA/ NE pantomime over Walshaw could hardly better illustrate the need for some cohesive leadership.

    The simple secret is to start your policy from where you want to be - and that means multi-purpose landuse for public benefit - not simply propping up farming regardless of collateral damage. We don't just have room for 250,000 hectares of new green space around our towns and cities, the needs of people & environmental resilience make it imperative - and just how much habitat can we pack into 250,000 hectares ?

    And in the uplands, what are the priorities for spending public money ? Does flooding come ahead of grouse shooting, how do carbon, people and sheep stack up (bearing in mind that sheep and the survival of rural communities are not one and the same thing).

    Is money really the problem ? I don't think so - there are huge savings from better management and there is no reason labour shouldn't simply eliminate financial speculation and ludicrous top-end farm payments - not paying to 'buy out' existing payments - especially the income stream of single farm payment would transform the sums and need not necessarily leave many land managers worse off.

  3. Crickey my local lib dem council banned wild animals in circuses over 20 years ago in their area. Ahead on recycling as well started long before other councils


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