Network for Animals and our sister organization Political Animal Lobby are saddened by today’s story in UK tabloid ‘The Daily Mail’, in which we and the SNP are falsely accused of ‘cash for votes’.
Our supporters only need look as far as 4th November to understand that NFA and PAL carry no special favour with the SNP. We are attempting to encourage politicians of all parties to strengthen the hunting laws within Scotland, and across England and Wales.
Proud History of Political Change
The supporters of Political Animal Lobby and Network for Animals have been proud proponents of political activism, including generous donations to parties with a solid animal welfare stance, since Brian Davies’ famed £1 million donation to the Labour Party in 1996.
We are in contact regularly with the Electoral Commission, the body in charge of monitoring donations to political parties, and report our political donations to them as required by the law. We hope that those who support hunting and badger culling, and donate to the Conservative party, do the same.
Our Recent Donations
Political Animal Lobby has made two political donations since the 2015 UK General Election, both in response to significant gestures of commitment to animal welfare, by the parties concerned.
10th August: £10,000 to the Scottish National Party, to recognise the powerful decision they had made weeks earlier in standing against Conservative plans to alter the Hunting Act 2004, which was falsely spun at the time as equating the English and Welsh law, with the Scottish law.
25th September: £10,000 to the Labour Party, to recognise the extremely forward thinking measure of placing Kerry McCarthy, a vegan MP, as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The SNP Question
Below is the first contact made between NFA/PAL and the SNP about the potential for a donation. This occurred on Weds 29th July, two weeks after the SNP’s Monday 13th July decision to oppose David Cameron’s proposals:
Our prior communication with the SNP had nothing to do with donations: It was about saving foxes, deer and hare and began immediately after the May 2015 UK general election, when it became clear that a united SNP, Labour and Green front would be key to upholding the English and Welsh hunting laws in the face of the new Conservative majority. We immediately hired a Scottish campaigner, and began publishing our efforts to convince the SNP to do the right thing. Not exactly clandestine behaviour…
Our supporters were part of this campaign, and thousands signed our petitions to Angus Robertson and Nicola Sturgeon, pleading with them to call Cameron’s bluff. Especially as Cameron tried to falsely argue that he was bringing English and Welsh laws into line with Scottish ones.
We encouraged our supporters to contact SNP MPs as we were doing, asking them to do the right thing. Some MPs replied with stock “party line” answers. Some didn’t reply at all. NFA even ran down the street to stop Calum Kerr MP in Westminster and discuss this issue with him! He was very amenable but like his colleague Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh who NFA met with in June, he remained very tight-lipped about the SNP’s plans, giving no indication of how, or indeed if, they would vote.
It was a frustrating time but we were determined to show the SNP how important this matter was to their supporters within Scotland, and not just animal lovers in England and Wales. As we pointed out at the time, animal cruelty knows no borders, and if the SNP were committed to animal welfare, they needed to stand up to David Cameron.
Given the noncommittal responses and secrecy from the SNP, we were despondent and unsure whether our hard work would pay off, but we had done everything we could. And when Angus Robertson made his statement on 14th July, that the SNP would be voting against Cameron, we were absolutely delighted, just like every other person in the UK who is opposed to bloodsports. In fact, more than one of us broke down in tears.
We are strongly opposed to current Conservative Party policy on hunting and badger culling, and believe that political activism is absolutely vital in ending these acts of cruelty.
We were disgusted David Cameron’s attempts to spin destructive changes to the Hunting Act as being about parity between Scotland, England and Wales, and we are abhorred by the £16,000,000 which Elizabeth Truss, Owen Paterson and George Eustace have wasted so far on a badger cull which is likely to increase problems of TB for farmers, rather than solve them.
Network for Animals and Political Animal Lobby will continue to work to improve the lives of animals around the world through grassroots activism, direct action, education, science, and political activism. All are necessary to make positive change for animals in an increasingly turbulent world, and we thank every person, who takes action with us.