Election issues #2: Animal welfare

June 2, 2017

Animal welfare in this election barely gains a mention in the mainstream media but it constitutes by far the greatest number of lobbying emails that candidates receive. Those campaign websites that allow residents to automatically fire off emails are a time-consuming part of any conscientious candidate’s workload (certainly we hear from residents that some of the candidates are less conscientious than others!).

From various sources, the animal welfare ones to our Folkestone & Hythe candidate, Martin Whybrow, are now close to 300, and counting. That total shows an interesting disconnect with the number of column inches and airtime given to the topic. Among the campaigns are:
  • Battersea Dogs & Cats Home’s campaign to increase the maximum custodial sentence for the most serious acts of animal cruelty to five years imprisonment;
  • Care2Petitions and the League Against Cruel Sports’ Vinny the Fox campaigns against fox hunting;
  • Compassion in World Farming’ Charter on food and farming.
And more general environmental ones such as:
  • The Campaign to Protect Rural England’s ‘Stand up for the countryside’ campaign;
  • And another Care2Petitions one to protect species, the climate and agricultural soils.

Coming the other way has been a small number (single figures) of emails asking for support for blood sports, something that we completely reject (nevertheless, each resident has had a reply from us).

Martin Whybrow at a public meeting in Dover to ban live exports

At a party level, the Green Party has the strongest policies and gives by far the highest prominence to the environment and animal welfare of any political party. A key manifesto pledge is an Environmental Protection Act “to safeguard and restore our environment, protect and enhance biodiversity, promote sustainable food and farming, and ensure animal protection”. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/

Martin Whybrow comments: “I am passionate about animal equality, am wholly opposed to the many appalling cruelties within our current farming methods across the globe, and am fervently against all forms of blood sports – the proposed vote to reintroduce fox hunting is a hugely backward step when we should be pushing ever further to cut cruelty, not allowing it. I hope that the many people who share my passion are also reassured by my personal commitment, as a vegetarian (heading for and not far off vegan), as a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Compassion in World Farming, Viva!, the RSPB, CPRE and Greenpeace. I am also actively involved with the local branch of the RSPCA and have campaigned locally against the awful cruelty of live animal exports. I believe animal welfare deserves to be a much higher priority within and beyond this election. It is one of the main reasons that I became involved in the Green Party.”