We recently wrote to the representatives of the Labour Party, Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats standing for MP of our local constituency in Windsor. We sent them each identical emails which read as follows:
I am writing to ask you, as my prospective parliamentary candidate, to pledge to protect animal welfare legislation should you be elected to parliament. Currently, there are 44 EU laws pertaining to animal welfare, and I am concerned that with Brexit, some of the directives may be weakened, while the regulations will simply cease to apply unless the government legislates for them to remain.
The laws cover many issues, including setting standards on the way animals are farmed, transported and slaughtered, ensuring eggs from caged hens are labelled as such, and banning cosmetic testing on animals. These are important issues, and hard-won protections for animals are now in danger.
Will you pledge to fight to maintain current animal welfare standards as a minimum should you be elected? Will you further pledge to strengthen legislation and protection for animals wherever possible, to include, for example, making independently monitored CCTV mandatory for all slaughterhouses?
These issues are important to me, and I will consider seriously all responses from candidates when I come to vote on June 8th.
We were pleased to receive responses from each candidate. Whilst our local candidate's view may not always reflect that of their party, we'd like to share the responses we received:
Peter Shearman, Labour
Thank you for contacting me about animal welfare. I¹m very grateful that you took the time to get in touch.
I am proud of Labour¹s strong record on animal welfare. It was Labour who brought in the landmark Animal Welfare Act in 2006, the most comprehensive piece of animal welfare legislation for nearly a century.
It is now time to update existing legislation, in order to ensure that we still have the best standards of animal welfare in the world.
The current penalties for animal welfare cases in England are amongst the lowest in Europe. It is time this changed so we support increasing of the maximum sentences for those convicted of animal cruelty.
Labour is proud of legislating to ban hunting with dogs through the Hunting Act 2004 and opposes any moves by the Tories to use valuable Parliamentary time to repeal it.
As well as protecting the Hunting Act the next Labour Government will go further to strengthen animal rights across the board. We will ban the use of wild animals in circuses, introduce a total ban on the trading of ivory and prohibit the third-party sale of puppies.
We are against the culling of badgers to control bovine TB, and would immediately end the ineffective and cruel badger cull, instead focusing on an evidence-based approach driven by science, not ideology.
The humane treatment of all animals should be a benchmark for any civilised society. National governments have a duty to work together to fight animal cruelty across the world.
Thank you again for contacting me about animal welfare. As your candidate I am grateful for every opportunity to set out my position to you. Ultimately, this General Election is a choice between a Labour Party who will stand up for the many and a Conservative Party which only looks after the privileged few, and I hope you will consider putting your trust in me, and in Labour.
Adam Afriyie, Conservative
Thank you so much for your recent correspondence. I very much appreciate your engagement during this election and for taking to the time to get in touch.
I hope that you’ll appreciate that I’m unfortunately simply unable to answer the hundreds of incoming letters, emails and telephone calls before the 8th of June because I’m pretty much out on the doorsteps and campaigning from dawn to dusk each day!
If I’m re-elected I’d be delighted to give a full response.
Julian Tisi, Liberal Democrats
Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding animal welfare legislation. I am happy to support these very reasonable aims. The Liberal Democrats have consistently fought for the highest standards of animal welfare and conservation. Speaking personally, I strongly agree with the proposal to increase sentences for the most serious cases of animal cruelty. Finally, I am dismayed that the Conservatives are seeking to reopen the fox hunting debate and I would vote to retain the current ban.