From an ivory ban to the Hunting Act – what we’re hoping for from parties’ election manifestos

Keeping animal welfare on the agenda ahead of the General Election

Election fever has well and truly hit. We were just as surprised as anyone when Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap general election on 18 April.

Although it is highly likely this election will be focused on Brexit there are still plenty of opportunities to bring animal welfare into the conversation. We haven’t wasted any time, and put together a list of manifesto recommendations which we’ve sent to all the main political parties.

One priority for wildlife right now is securing a ban on the UK’s domestic ivory trade. We’ve received widespread, cross party support for such a ban over the last few months and we’re determined to ensure this remains on the agenda of any new government. Wild elephants’ survival is on the line, so we can’t let the election slow progress at such a crucial point.

Another top priority for us is to ensure the Hunting Act is protected and strengthened. According to an IPSOS Mori poll last year support for keeping a ban on fox hunting is at an all-time high, at 84%. So it’s never been a better time for the political parties to reflect the will of the public and commit to keeping the ban in place and making sure our foxes get the protection they deserve.

Finally, many people are deeply concerned about the uncertain future of EU animal welfare legislation after Brexit. This election is a perfect opportunity for politicians to offer clarity and publicly promise to safeguard these laws for years to come.

Our full list of manifesto priorities is:

  1. To maintain or increase investment levels in stopping illegal wildlife trade through sustained commitment for Border Force CITES team and the National Wildlife Crime Unit
  2. To introduce a domestic Ivory Ban for all ivory, including antique ivory (with some specific exemptions)
  3. To introduce new Sentencing Guidance for illegal wildlife trade offences 
  4. To ban the third party sales of puppies 
  5. To strengthen the Hunting Act to close exemption loopholes and to commit to not repeal.
  6. To ensure that all EU animal welfare legislation is protected and transferred in to UK law
  7. To pledge to end commercial whaling utilising all available diplomatic and legislative channels
  8. To end the badger cull and to ensure that no expansion of the cull zones occurs.

We’ll know soon whether our priorities have been taken up by any of the official party manifestos again this time round – watch this space for updates. Regardless of the results we’ll continue to tirelessly campaign for animal welfare and conservation after 8 June. 

You can help, too! If you meet any of your general election candidates, ask them where they stand on issues such as hunting and ivory, and let them know that protecting animals is important to you.


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