‘Labour: Protecting Animals’ a gauntlet thrown for animal welfare

‘Labour: Protecting Animals’ is a party manifesto that seeks to protect and enforce the Hunting Act, and other animal welfare issues.Today the Labour Party threw down a gauntlet.

In launching a specific manifesto entitled ‘Labour: Protecting Animals’ they threw their weight behind their years of campaigning for animals, pitching themselves as, in the words of Maria Eagle, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the party that will ‘fight for the extension of compassion’.

Will other parties follow suit?

It is clear that with the comprehensive set of commitments made, other parties will need to say more than they have done if they are to draw animal loving voters away from Labour’s eager candidates.

In a utopian world we would see the other major parties rush to get their ducks in a row, each party going further than the other for animals.

Labour have a considerable head start however. The work of Wally Burley MBE, a Labour Party institution in his own right, means that Labour now have their own Animal Welfare Society, officially affiliated with the party.

Will we eventually see societies spring up within the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats?

Perhaps not in time for the General Election.

Today’s manifesto document was therefore hotly anticipated. Did it deliver?

Of course we knew they would commit to ending the Government’s unscientific and inhumane badger culls and we knew they would always seek to protect and enforce the Hunting Act.

This ticks off two major items on IFAW’s manifesto.

Finally banning the use of wild animals in circuses, after the current Government failed to do so, was of course also welcomed. Their commitment to improving the protection of dogs and cats is something we know the next government will have to tackle and they are getting ahead of the game here too.

Including measures to tackle animal cruelty on shooting estates feels like a direct hit against their major electoral opponents, which we welcome, specifically as we are concerned about snaring.

Maria Eagle noted to those assembled today at the launch event, that earlier this month the Government stopped parliamentary business five hours early so that MPs could attend a party fundraiser, at which a shooting party was auctioned for £100,000.

So what could be left for the remaining parties to outdo them on? We grabbed our copy of Labour’s manifesto, eagerly searching for some bold commitments on the illegal wildlife trade.

We were pleased to see that a commitment to tackle wildlife cybercrime, an issue on which IFAW is leading the campaign across Parliament, is clearly mentioned, and we have IFAW supporters all over the world to thank for the impact this campaign has had.

However, we hoped they would commit to funding the UK’s National Wildlife Crime Unit on a long-term basis, but this was notably absent.

We hoped for clear plans on illegal trade that would indicate a decisive strategy, but we got general statements about the importance of saving endangered species.

The current Government has carved out a leadership role globally in ending the cruel trade in endangered wildlife and their products but we want to see a full manifesto from both coalition parties, tackling British wildlife issues with humanity and robust science…Labour have laid down their gauntlet with British wildlife policies being the strongest arrows with which they can outdo their opponents.

Let the games begin.

--RL

For more information about IFAW Political Advocacy efforts, visit our campaign page.

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Experts

Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
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Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
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Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
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Faye Cuevas, Esq.
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Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
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Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
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Sonja Van Tichelen, Vice President of International Operations
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Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
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Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
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