Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, vegetarian of 20 years, has launched the party’s ‘radical’ animal welfare programme, which lays out a 50-point plan called Animal Welfare For The Many, Not The Few.
In this policy he has promised to ‘look at’ introducing a ban on exporting live animals for slaughter. This has been a campaign aim for animal welfare advocates for many years.
The party have highlighted issues about animal experimentation in their programme. Points include; making testing project licenses open and transparent; to commit to a ban on the export of animals in research and to commit to ending the permitting of ‘severe’ suffering.
This announcement has come days after the Labour leader promised to take the energy industry into democratic public control, in order to lower carbon emissions to fight climate change, and reduce bills for families and businesses.
Sue Hayman MP, Labour’s shadow environment secretary, said: ‘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.
Among many other policies, Labour have promised to expand the definition of animal to include decapod crustaceans (lobsters, for example) and cephalopods (like squid) in line with other countries including Switzerland, New Zealand and Norway.
The parties 50-point policy is broken down into five sections:
- Prohibit the third party sale of puppies. All puppies will need to be sold with their mother on site.
- Take increased measures to tackle puppy smuggling
- Reintroduction of rabies testing before entry into the UK
- Increase post rabies test period to three months
- Introduce a microchip database and record microchip numbers upon entry
- Ban the use of animal shock collars, including sale and importation.
- Improve accessibility to vets for those on low incomes/receiving financial support, working with organisations to explore how access to affordable vet care can be expanded.
- Require motorists to report accidents where an animal has been injured.
- Expand mandatory microchipping to cats.
- Phase in restrictions on pet primates.
- Raise the penalty for dog-fighting to three years in line with Northern Ireland.
- Consult with landlords and tenants on the ability for tenants to keep pets as default unless there is evidence that the animal is causing a nuisance.
- Work with care home providers and advocate groups to explore the potential for elderly and disabled people who move into care homes to be able to keep their pets.
- Establish a full-time, independent zoo inspectorate to draw up revised standards of animal welfare in the UK’s zoos to ensure consistency in licensing and inspection.
Factory Farming and Slaughterhouses
- Ban live exports for slaughter or fattening. This would include an exemption for breeding
- animals providing provision is in place ensuring they are transported under genuinely high welfare standard
s. This would also include an exemption for livestock transported across the Northern Ireland border.
- Mandatory labelling of meat, both domestic and imported. This would include details on country of origin, method of production and method of slaughter (stun or non-stun).
- Total ban on imports of Foie Gras so as to restrict the market for this cruel and inhumane product.
- Issue new guidance to end the use of antibiotics for routine, preventative purposes with farm animals. Anti-microbial resistance is becoming an increasing problem leading to antibiotics being less effective.
- Introduce mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses, including where horses are slaughtered, and make this footage available to the Food Standards Agency and/or other government departments where there is a clear case to.
- Introduce a formal whistle blowing procedure through the Food Standards Agency to enable employees to report bad behaviour and practice within abattoirs.
- Review of training and standards within slaughterhouses.
- Increased accountability of poor employment and management practices that drive down working culture.
- Introduce phased ban on sow farrowing crates with a reasonable phase-out period, replacing with safe, free-farrowing systems.
- End use of cages on British farms.
- Consultation on the expansion of ‘megafarms’ to detail their effects on animal welfare standards. The recent increase in industrialised farming under this Conservative government poses serious questions in relation to animal welfare post-Brexit.
- Design post-Brexit farm subsidies to move away from intensive factory farming and bad environmental practices.
- Enhance and strengthen the Hunting Act, closing loopholes that allow for illegal hunting of foxes and hares.
- End the badger cull.
- Make illegal hunting and all wildlife crime a reportable offence.
- Ban wild animals in circuses.
- Introduce and enforce a total ban on ivory trading.
- Ban intensive rearing of game birds for shooting.
- Tackle the illegal wildlife trade and clamp down on trophy hunting. Ending the import of wild animal trophies from species that are classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as critically endangered. Expand this ban to species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
- Increase penalties for criminal behaviour as well as improve enforcement and prosecution rates for the persecution of birds of prey.
- Tackle the trade in fur by requiring shops to prominently label items containing real fur and phase in a ban on all fur imports.
- Introduce a ‘Blue Belt’ to protect and enhance our marine environment around the UK and overseas territories.
- We will consult on the creation of National Marine Parks.
- Embed and enhance in policy the responsibility for farmers to conserve, enhance and create safe habitats for birds and animals during the breeding season, and encourage the growth of wildflowers.
Animals in Sport
- Issue best practice on responsible ownership, specifically for animals in sport.
- Introduce better mechanisms to trace ownership.
- Implement a centralised database to record what happens to greyhounds after they are no longer fit to race.
Animals Used in Research
- Commit to ending within an achievable timeframe, the permitting of ‘severe’ suffering as defined in UK legislation.
- Commit to a stringent review of defined areas in regulatory testing, with the aim of identifying and eliminating avoidable tests.
- Commit to a ban on the export of animals for use in research unless with specific consent from the Home Office consent where there would otherwise be greater welfare detriment.
- Make animal testing project licenses open and transparent. This would be undertaken in such a way as to ensure addresses and names of individuals were not exposed.
- Contribute to the development and validation of non-animal research methods and technologies and encourage research in the field.
READ MORE about Labour’s animal rights policies here.