During July 2015, Network For Animals’ Campaigner Paul Herring approached the four candidates for leadership of the UK Labour Party, to ask their views on animal welfare policy:
“Alongside our shared commitments to human rights and environmental justice, our party has a strong commitment to animal welfare. As a vegetarian all my adult life, I have used my position in parliament to advocate for greater animal welfare protection.
The last Labour government achieved much to reduce animal suffering: banning hunting with dogs, securing an end to cosmetic testing, banning fur farming, and introducing the Animal Welfare Act. I supported all these measures.
One of the first set of questions I tabled after I was elected to Parliament in 1983 was about the use of animals in tobacco research experiments. I also campaigned against the use of primates in research, and I negotiated tougher regulations with ministers on how they are imported for use in research, and as pets, under the Animal Welfare Act.
In this Parliament I will continue my lifelong opposition to hunting with dogs. I have also voted, spoken and campaigned for a ban on wild animals in circuses and I opposed the badger cull in the last Parliament.
I was a childhood opponent of fox hunting growing up in Shropshire. Back then we had otter hunting, badger baiting and hare coursing. Gradually we got legislation to end all these awful practices. It was my old friend Tony Banks who finally got the badger as a protected species – I was quoted in the press calling it ‘A Good Day for Brock’ when it finally went through.
I have supported the campaign against the dog meat trade, as well as campaigning to ban imports of foie gras, following India’s welcome lead on this issue.
Our country and our party have much to be proud of on animal welfare, but we still have further to go to match the best practice around the world. This is another reason why we must resist the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which would threaten the European and national legislative protections that we have campaigned together to achieve.
If elected leader, I pledge that a Labour government in 2020 will continue to advance our animal welfare protections so that they are the best in the world – and I hope that you will hold me to that pledge.”
I believe that the way we treat animals defines us as people. High standards of animal welfare and animal protection are a hallmark of a civilised society.
I am deeply proud of the record of past Labour governments, not least the introduction of a ban on hunting with hounds. I want Labour to remain at forefront of animal protection and, under my Leadership, the Party will continue to provide a strong voice for all those who care about animal welfare.
I have said that the last manifesto was one I was proud to stand on and I will uphold the clear and firm commitments to stronger animal rights made then, and seek to build on them further.
As with many of the great legacies of the last Labour government, from tax credits to Sure Start, the Tories want to turn the clock back on animal rights. I will do my utmost to prevent them repealing or undermining Labour’s hunting ban, and to hold them to account for their record on animal welfare. We need greater protection for animals not just in the UK, but overseas too, and I will do all I can to promote this, both as Leader of the Opposition and as head of a Labour Government in 2020.
Yvette Cooper’s Team
Animal welfare is a hugely important issue and one Yvette knows is extremely close to the hearts of thousands of Labour members.
Since 1997, Labour governments have achieved a huge amount in this field – vital work to end cruelty, which the Tories are now trying to undo.
Ours is the only party that can be trusted on animal welfare, as our track record has proven – as well as ending hunting with dogs, Labour was also responsible for creating the Animal Welfare Act, which saw cages for gamebirds, and the trade in seal products banned and virtually eliminated.
We set up a world-leading centre dedicated to using science to eliminate the need for using animals in experiments, and pledged if we returned to government to prevent unnecssary animal experimentation by requiring a strong and specific justification for all experiments.
And in the manifesto we took to the country in May, our party once against demonstrated its commitment to protecting animals, with pledges to continue to protect the Hunting Act, ban the use of wild animals in circuses and end the ineffective and cruel badger culls.
As Labour leader, Yvette would continue to carry the mantle for animal welfare – taking on David Cameron and the Tories from day one. We cannot allow the huge inroads we made as a party in bringing animal welfare to the fore to be steamrollered, and as a party we know the overwhelming public view is against fox hunting.
Yvette voted for the hunting ban in 2004 and Yvette believes it would be completely wrong to lift the ban now. Yvette thinks David Cameron is wrong to insist on reopening the issue now by bringing forward another vote which might repeal the ban.
To keep in touch with the campaign over the coming weeks, please visit www.yvetteforlabour.co.uk
Hannah and Yvette for Labour Team
Did not take the opportunity to respond.
To take part in the vote, you must be registered as a Labour supporter by 12pm on Wednesday 12th August. The results of the vote will be announced on Saturday 12th September.
Network for Animals hope this information will assist you in making a judgement that will improve the political spectrum for animals.
Network for Animals work with all major UK political parties to make positive change for animals.