As a nation of pet and animal lovers we take animal welfare and the protection of our pets very seriously. Personally, I’m a self-confessed animal lover and passionately believe that as a society we should be pushing for greater welfare protections for animals in the UK.
I’m proud that in Tameside we’re fortunate to have the Manchester Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre, located in Denton. Dogs Trust Manchester opened in 2014 and to date has rehomed more than 3,000 dogs, with 197 new homes found in the first quarter of 2018 alone – but we need to do more nationally.
Labour takes the issue of animal welfare very seriously with a popular raft of proposals put forward over the past year which have been met with enthusiasm.
Our 50-point plan offers a comprehensive new approach to animal welfare with an incoming Labour government committed to improving conditions for animals in the UK, whether wild, livestock or pets.
With Britain set to leave the EU next year we intend to set a strong British example with proposals such as enshrining the concept of animal sentience into UK law, greater protections in abattoirs and curbs on abhorrent “puppy farms”.
Illegally imported puppies and puppy farms are a blight on our society which is why our plans prohibit the third-party sale of puppies and hit puppy smuggling. As well as this we would reintroduce rabies testing for all puppies before entry into the UK, and offer tenants greater rights to own pets, in consultation with landlords.
Labour will make sure we have an Animal Welfare Commissioner in place who will be responsible for ensuring Government policy across Whitehall is continually informed by the latest scientific evidence on animal sentience. The Commissioner would also ensure that animal welfare standards are always considered in new legislation and are maintained in Britain’s involvement in international bodies and post-Brexit trade deals.
Labour is the party of animal welfare. From bringing in the ban on fox hunting to tightening the rules on the transport of live animals, Labour has always been consistent in our determination to improve animal welfare.
With a new future on the horizon which includes the UK no longer being subject to EU-wide rules on animal welfare, Labour will ensure there is a comprehensive legislative agenda in place so that the UK becomes a world leader on animal rights. Under current rules we enjoy some of the highest standards for farm animal welfare in the world, and we want to keep those high standards.
I’m sure that many will join me in rejecting deals that would mean ditching the UK’s high food safety standards in return for our markets being flooded with cheap chlorine-washed chicken or hormone-treated beef – I do not accept that we can afford this trade-off and passionately believe that we should instead be setting the bar high.