Coombe Farm Animal Equality

Source: Animal Equality 

It follows a series of alleged anmial welfare breaches at livestock farms during the past 18 months

The Labour Party has launched a 50-point ‘animal welfare manifesto for government’, which includes the appointment of a commissioner to ensure standards are considered in new legislation.

Created following a consultation that attracted more than 6,000 submissions, Labour said the manifesto would put animal welfare policy “on a serious and credible footing, driven by science and best practice, rather than vague sentimentality”. It follows a series of alleged anmial welfare breaches at livestock farms during the past 18 months.

Alongside commitments to strengthen the Hunting Act and to end the badger cull, the plan includes an end to the ‘cage age’, which follows retailer commitments in the egg sector with a ban on the use of all cages on British farms by 2025.

Labour is also proposing a phased ban on the use of sow farrowing crates, with farmers “supported” in moving to free farrowing systems by farm support payments for a transition period.

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Other policy positions include a ban on imports of foie gras and live exports for slaughter and fattening, alongside the introduction of a formal FSA whistleblowing procedure to enable employees to report bad behaviour within abattoirs, and a review of training and standards within slaughterhouses.

The party is also planning research into the impact on animal welfare of highly intensive livestock farming practices. This would consider the overall management of a farm and the treatment of individual animals.

It is also promising a ban on electric pulse fishing and the launch of a consultation on a national action plan on ghost gear.

Meanwhile, an animal welfare commissioner would ensure the topic remained at the heart of government policy, said the manifesto, while maintaining the UK’s involvement in international welfare bodies and ensuring the topic was at the top of the agenda in post-Brexit trade deals.

“Never has it been more pressing to drive forward a comprehensive and ambitious agenda on animal welfare,” Labour said. “At the time of writing this plan, we have a Tory government recklessly hurtling the nation towards a disastrous no-deal Brexit and new trade deals on the horizon that raise serious questions over animal welfare and food safety standards.”

The policies sought to “build upon the long-standing leadership of the Labour Party on the issue of animal welfare”, added shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman.

“Labour will ensure that we have a comprehensive legislative agenda in place to make sure that the UK has animal rights protections equal to or better than anywhere in the world.”

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