Tag Archives: animal welfare

Opinion: Fox Hunting Vote Crucial to Lib Dems’ Reputation

Animal rights groups are reporting a planned vote re: fox hunting in the UK, with David Cameron hoping to appease hunting lobbyists by watering down the current legislation. The vote is scheduled for Wednesday 15th July leaving activists little time to fill petitions) and co-ordinate letter writing appeals to mobilise sympathetic MPs.

But how will the Lib Dems vote?

In terms of an outright repeal, the Daily Telegraph reported last month their belief that all eight remaining Lib Dems would vote to keep the law intact. But this is not a repeal, per se, but rather a set of amendments to bring existing practice in England and Wales “into line” with that in Scotland. At present, hunts in England and Wales have been allowed to ‘flush out’ foxes, along with certain other animals, under the auspice of pest control, as long as they are shot as quickly as possible. However, while hunts in England and Wales are limited to using just two hounds for such, the number of dogs that can be used in Scotland is unlimited. With pressure from rural constituencies in particular, will some of the remaining Lib Dems be convinced to vote in favour of the amendments?

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 87 Comments

Opinion: Animal welfare legislation misses the mark

Leading animal welfare charities dismissed legislation introduced by Lib Dems in coalition as being not fit for purpose.

The new ban, coming into force in October 2015, will prohibit the testing on animals for finished household products in the UK – but not all their ingredients. The ban will only apply to ingredients where more than half of their usage is expected to be within household products. This is seen as a considerable u-turn by then Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone, who announced in 2011 that the ban would ‘apply to both finished household products and their ingredients, although in …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 25 Comments

Opinion: The Betting Industry and Animal Welfare

The proliferation of betting shops in our high streets and the associated issue of the amounts gambled on high stakes gaming machines have been the subject of intense political debate recently.

The welfare of animals in the betting industry, I am thinking in particular of racehorses, receives a lot less interest.

I have always been a very strong supporter of the rights of animals, but having developed a keen interest in horseracing a few years ago, I started to examine much more closely the treatment of the non-human participants in what is a multi-billion pound industry.

Horseracing is an international sport, with the top competitors going long distances to chase big prizes.

Two of the big welfare issues are the use of the whip and races that involve jumping over obstacles.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 10 Comments

LibLink: Layla Moran: Six ways to break British research

All parliamentary candidates are being deluged by emails from organisations and constituents on a huge range of subjects. One particular missive comes from Vote Cruelty Free which encourages candidates to sign up to the following six pledges:

1) Ban experiments on cats and dogs.
2) End the secrecy surrounding animal experiments.
3) Stop importing monkeys for use in laboratories.
4) End non-medical experiments.
5) Stop genetically modifying animals.
6) Stop suffering in the most extreme experiments.

Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon has written an article for the Our Kingdom website in which she looks at these pledges and explains why she can’t sign up for them because of the effect it would have on British research and ultimately be worse for animals as research is driven to parts of the world where animal welfare is not taken as seriously as it is here.

First, a general overview and the benefits of well-regulated life science research:

On February 24, Britain took the historic step of legislating to make mitochondrial donation therapy possible, offering hope to those carrying mitochondrial defects and creating the possibility for them to have children without passing on the diseases that currently afflict — and usually kill — over 100 babies each year. But medical progress depends on a global ecosystem of life sciences research. Development of novel techniques to a level where mitochondrial donation could be trialled in humans relied on earlier studies using macaques, for example.

Britain is at the forefront of much of this research and, in addition, currently has the highest animal welfare standards worldwide. It is already illegal to conduct animal experiments if an alternative exists and illegal to use cats or dogs if a different animal could be used. Research on animals for cosmetics or on great apes for any application is banned outright. I’m proud that the UK has such high standards and proud that the Liberal Democrats have worked hard in the UK and Europe to drive further improvements.

And then she tackles the substance of the 6 pledges:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Speaking up for the civil liberties of dogs

HazelAfter the Federal Executive meeting this week where we discussed preparations for the election campaign (heartening to see so many people coming forward to be approved as candidates), arrangements to implement the One Member One Vote decision at Conference (and good to see that Mark Pack and Duncan Brack who proposed the amendment passed are to be invited in to work on that), the implementation of the Morrissey Report (amazing progress made, driven forward by our fabulous Pastoral Care Officer), we headed to the pub.

I was talking about my excitement/slight apprehension about picking up our new puppy the next day. The picture on the right shows little Hazel, who is now happily settled and busily involved in training us to meet her needs.

Anyway, Martin Tod reminded us all that he had once spoken up for the civil liberties of dogs in response to an animal welfare debate at Conference in 2003. He and Mark Pack wondered how it would look if the motion applied to humans. He posted the speech on his blog last year and here’s a snippet:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 17 Comments

LibLink: Norman Baker – I want to see the end of all animal testing

Norman BakerIt is, perhaps, unusual for a minister to declare that he or she would like to see the end of part, or all, of their job. But then, Norman Baker isn’t necessarily your average minister. It is ironic that, given his record as an anti-vivisection campaigner, he was given responsibility for the regulation of animal experimentation. In an interview with BBC News, he said that he wants to see an end to such testing, although he understands that it “would not happen tomorrow”.

Unexpectedly perhaps, the number of experiments using …

Posted in LibLink and News | Also tagged , and | 22 Comments

Clegg opposes ban on halal and kosher slaughter; now we need to hear his reasons

Nick Clegg has said he is “emphatically” opposed to the UK introducing a ban on the slaughter of animals in compliance with what some see as religious requirements. Slaughter of animals for the production of halal or kosher meat is currently exempt from UK regulations requiring animals to be stunned into unconsciousness before having their throats cut.

Clegg was answering a question on his weekly LBC phone-in, prompted by a recent ban on such slaughter imposed by the Danish government, where agriculture minister Dan Jørgensen supported a ban on the basis that “animal rights come before religion”.

Here’s how the Guardian’s Andrew Sparrow summarised Clegg’s response when asked whether he supports a Denmark-style ban:

Emphatically not, says Clegg.

No government of which he was part would support this, he says.

He says he supports the right of Jewish and Muslim communities to decide how animals are slaughtered. That is an important liberal position, he says.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 41 Comments

Adrian Sanders MP writes…The Universal Declaration of Animal Welfare should be taken up on an international level

Benjamin BunnyLast May the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) was granted General Consultative status at the United Nations. This is the only international animal welfare organisation with such status, and the decision represented a positive development for animal welfare on the global agenda.

However, more needs to be done. By encouraging the support of international organisations, we can ensure that effective animal welfare strategies are not just kept to the west and within the European Union. Instead, bodies like the United Nations can help support animal welfare improvements in …

Posted in Op-eds | 8 Comments

Opinion: Ban barbaric, unnecessary snaring

One of Liberal Youth Scotland’s campaigns this year has concentrated on encouraging the Scottish Liberal Democrats to adopt a policy to ban snaring. We believe that this practice is barbaric, cruel, indiscriminate and unnecessary.

On Saturday 16th March, Scottish Liberal Democrat conference will debate an LYS motion calling for a ban on snaring. Scotland has led the way on this issue with the Scottish Government adopting new guidelines in 2008. However research undertaken by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) has shown that 85% of the public are in favour of an outright ban.

One Aberdeenshire Vet …

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Kill the cull – it’s bad for badgers, science and the Government

A new term and the Government looks set to walk straight into a public relations disaster. In a bid to ‘manage’ the spread of bovine TB, Defra will commence a badger cull starting in two areas of the South West – West Somerset/Taunton Deane and in the Forest of Dean/Tewkesbury. It is not just the pictures of indiscriminate shooting and maiming of an icon of the British countryside which will be so damaging for the Government; it is the fact that the cull is based on flawed science.  This is an ill-conceived policy.

The decision by Defra, one of the few …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 34 Comments

Opinion: Ritual slaughter – One law for all

Ritual slaughter has had a reasonably low profile in the UK, despite vigorous debate abroad, in the European parliament, and now in the Commons. David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Sarah Ludford MEP (FT) have expressed some level of support for the practice, but I must disagree.

The law requires that animals be stunned before slaughter, for their welfare, but there is an exemption for Muslim and Jewish food production.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 27 Comments

Opinion: Lynne Featherstone’s defence of evidence-based translational medicine is welcome

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The sparsely-attended adjournment debate on Wednesday secured by Conservative MP David Amess, saw a rare thing – a genuine discussion based around the merits of peer-reviewed scientific research and a robust defence of an evidence-based approach to translational medicine from Lib Dem Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone. For a biology nerd interested in the application of scientific knowledge to public policy it had all the ingredients of a pre-Christmas gift – I can fully recommend the Hansard transcript for a full picture (yes, I am that sad…).

Mr. Amess has some track record of Parliamentary campaigning against animal cruelty, …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

LDVideo: Jeremy Browne’s pledge to Sam Fox: I’ll raise issue of tiger farms with Chinese government

As the BBC reports:

The former model and singer Sam Fox challenged foreign office minster Jeremy Browne on the Daily Politics about tiger farms in China which she wants to see closed. Mr Browne told her that he would raise the matter with the Chinese. Fewer than 3,500 tigers remain in the wild around the world.

You can watch the exchange below:

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Adrian Sanders MP writes: a targeted reduction in animal experiments

The numbers of animals used in experiments has been rising steadily over the past few years; up to 3.6 million in 2009 (whilst the number of individual procedures is far higher). It represents the presence of a vast amount of suffering.  In its Programme for Government the Coalition promised to ‘work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research’. Our work has been supported by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) who warmly welcome our pledge, which is undoubtedly overdue.

But how does the Coalition intend to turn aspiration …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 9 Comments
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