Photo credit: In Memory of Vucko
The Conservative Party: Not much is mentioned about animal welfare in the Conservative manifesto, however what is mentioned, like most of the manifesto, is not in great detail and, in my opinion, does not have the same sense of importance as the other policies. It is said that the party wishes to implement “reforms to pet sales”, although it doesn’t specify exactly what this means. The manifesto also says that the party will make CCTV recording mandatory in all slaughterhouses. It is also a very public fact that the Conservatives wish to repeal the 2002 ban on fox hunting, promising that it will give a free vote in parliament to “decide the future of the Hunting Act”, which made the hunting of wild mammals with dogs illegal. Although it is a sporting activity, this party claims that holding hunts with dogs is a more humane way to control the fox population. Obviously this is a very controversial issue and it has met with a lot of opposition, including the Prime Minister, Theresa May, being heckled by opposers during the hustings in Maidenhead on the 27th of May.
The Labour Party: I found the Labour Party manifesto to be easy to navigate and straight forward. The party says that they will increase the maximum penalty for “those convicted of committing animal cruelty”. They also state that they will promote cruelty free animal husbandry and that they will will prohibit the third party sale of puppies. Labour have made it very clear that they wish to enforce a complete ban on any ivory trading (at present it is legal to trade ivory items made before 1947 as these products are deemed antiques) and that they support the ban on wild animals in circuses. The party also pledge that they will cease the badger cull and maintain the bans on fox and deer hunting and hare coursing. To protect marine life, they wish to reduce ocean waste. In an effort to increase biodiversity, Labour plan to plant more trees, providing a stable habitat for wild animals. They state that under a labour government, insecticides that harm bees will be prohibited.
Liberal Democrats: The liberal democrats gave sufficient detail on their manifesto regarding animal policies, pledging to “suspend the use of neonicotinoids until proven that their use in agriculture does not harm bees or other pollinators”, along with making penalties stronger for animal cruelty offenders, taking the maximum penalty from six months to five years. The party also wishes to introduce indentification requirements for the online sales of pets, in order to prevent the illegal importation of these companion animals. Additionally, they say that they will improve animal health and welfare standards in agriculture and ban caged hens. They also mention that they will take the illegal trade of ivory, fish and other wildlife.
The Green Party: the Green Party has so many policies relating to animals that they even have a separate manifesto for them ( the Green Party Animal Protection Manifesto)! Firstly, the Green Party states that they will introduce an Environmental Protection Act that will protect biodiversity and “promote … animal protection”. Taking ‘Brexit’ into account, they believe that the deal should include provisions to protect animal welfare. The party also boldly states that it opposes all forms of factory farming and promotes a reduction in meat consumption, as well as wanting to completely ban the ivory trade and being opposed to badger culling. In addition, Greens will apparently also work for a “complete replacement of animals in research and testing”, make CCTV mandatory in abattoirs and bring about an end to whaling and the keeping of cetaceans in captivity.
The Animal Welfare Party: As the name suggests, this party has many many policies geared towards animal welfare. The Animal Welfare Party is, to date, yet to release their manifesto, however they have provided a list of their key policies on their website. These policies include:
- An end to all slaughter without prior stunning.
- promotion of a plant-based diet, leading to an improvement in human health and therefore saving NHS funds.
- Funds for alternative testing in order to phase out animal testing.
- stopping live exportation of animals and reducing journey times for animals travelling to slaughter within the UK.
- end the retail sale of all animals
- ban puppy farms
- “end the badger cull and oppose any repeal of the fox hunting ban”
- an end to the exotic pet trade.
Plaid Cymru: There is not a lot mentioned in the Plaid Cymru manifesto on animal policies, however, they do state that they will “update and consolidate Welsh wildlife legislation, creating a new Wildlife Act for Wales”. The party also pledges to create and “Animal Abuse Register for Wales”.
Scottish National Party: The S.N.P. say that they will “set up a Wildlife Crime Investigation Unit as part of the police Scotland” and ban the issuing on electric dog collars. There may also be other policies that I am unaware of.
This post is impartial; in writing this post I do not mean to advocate any particular party, merely provide facts for those people whose vote is influenced by a party’s animal welfare policies and to encourage those who can to vote.
- Plaid Cymru Manifesto
- Green Party Animal Protection Manifesto
- Animal Welfare Party key policies for 2017 general election