Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Spring Newsletter

Read our latest campaign updates to advance animal welfare.
Dear Supporter,

As we approach Easter this weekend, we look back on 2023 and our campaigns to advance animal welfare.

Last month we held The Crate Escape parliamentary reception hosted by Rt Hon. Mark Francois MP to call for an end to pig farrowing crates. We were delighted to welcome a number of attendees across parties including two former Secretaries of State for Defra, and two Shadow Defra Ministers, as well as speakers including Mark Francois MP, CAWF Head of Research Dr Steve McCulloch, Shadow Defra Spokesperson Baroness Hayman of Ullock and CAWF Patron Anna Firth MP.

Only a short while later we made history by co-organising the first ever parliamentary event calling for protections for farmed fish, hosted by Lord Trees. The reception highlighted the 55 million fish farmed every year in the UK who do not receive the same legal protections as other farmed animals – despite being recognised as sentient in law under the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act.

Meanwhile we have celebrated the successful passage of our Patron Henry Smith MP’s Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill through the House of Commons. This vital Bill delivers a Conservative Manifesto commitment and will ensure the UK plays no role in the trade of vile hunting trophies, through ending imports. We also welcomed the passing of Conservative MP Angela Richardson’s Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill through the Commons, which will end the UK’s role in advertising low welfare tourist activities abroad.

We are continuing to call for the return of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill which fulfils no less than three Conservative Manifesto commitments, including an end to live exports for fattening and slaughter. Only legislation can end this cruel trade, which sees animals reared in the UK travel on long, gruelling journeys to destination countries where we have no control over their welfare or method of slaughter. We urge for this key measure, as well as the other policies included in the Bill such as addressing livestock worrying and pet theft, ending the import of dogs with cropped ears, reviewing zoo standards and ending primates as pets, to be delivered as soon as possible.

You can read about all of this and much more below. Finally, as we celebrate Easter this weekend, we would like to urge an end to cages for laying hens. Chocolate eggs and fluffy chicks are a reminder of the 14-16 million laying hens kept in tiny cages every year who cannot even spread their wings. We hope you will join us in calling for an end to this cruel practice.

We wish you and your family a very festive weekend and hope you enjoy reading our updates on progress for animals below.

Chris and Lorraine Platt
Parliament debates ending snares

On 9th January we welcomed a Westminster Hall Debate led by Conservative MP Nick Fletcher relating to the petition titled: ‘Make the use of free-running snares illegal for trapping wildlife’ which received over 102,000 signatures from the UK public.

It is estimated that 1.7 million animals are caught in snares in England and Wales alone each year, and there are only four countries in the EU where snaring is still permitted.

MPs from across the political spectrum contributed to the debate, including Tracey Crouch, Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patron. She highlighted the strong public support which exists for ending the use of snares in the UK, and the indiscriminate nature of injuries and suffering to the animals caught.

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation included the proposal to ban snares in its 2019 Animal Welfare Manifesto sent to the Government for consideration in its Conservative Manifesto. Defra’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare also committed to launching a Call for Evidence on the use of snares.

Parliament debates ending animal testing

On 16th January we welcomed another Westminster Hall Debate led by Conservative MP Elliot Colburn relating to a public petition on ending commercial breeding for laboratories, which received over 102,000 signatures from the UK public.

The petition called for all establishment licences for commercial breeders of animals to be revoked. It also called for amendments to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA). In 2021, over 3 million scientific procedures were conducted on animals; this represented a 6% increase on the year before. The use of dogs increased by 3%, cats by 6%, horses by 29% and monkeys by 17%.

MPs who contributed to the debate included Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patron Henry Smith MP, who described animal experimentation as “bad science” which is “hindering the development of treatments that benefit humankind”. A number of other MPs also supported the petition, including SNP MP Dr Lisa Cameron and Labour MP Kerry McCarthy.

Compulsory microchipping of cats introduced in England

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation welcomed new legislation by Defra on 13th March to introduce compulsory cat microchipping in England. Defra’s official announcement highlighted that the Call for Evidence and Consultation on the issue showed 99% of respondents expressed support for the measure.

The introduction of compulsory cat microchipping was a Manifesto commitment and an Action Plan for Animal Welfare pledge.

Co-Founder of Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Lorraine Platt said: “We are pleased that a key Manifesto commitment is being delivered. Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation included a proposal for compulsory microchipping of cats in our Animal Welfare Manifesto document in 2019 which was handed to No.10. The proposal was included as a Manifesto commitment later that year in the Conservative Party Manifesto leading up to the 2019 General Election.

Microchipping is an effective way of identifying lost pets who are more likely to be reunited with their owner. Pet cats in England will be given the same protection as dogs.

The Crate Escape reception in Parliament
The Crate Escape campaign, led by Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF) and supported by Humane Society International/UK and Compassion in World Farming, held a Parliamentary reception hosted by Mark Francois MP on 15th March.

The campaign calls on the UK Government to ban farrowing crates and support farmers with the cost of transitioning away from their use. The reception, which was attended by cross-party MPs and Peers, raised awareness of the suffering sows endure when they are forced to spend almost a quarter of their lives in cages so small they cannot even turn around.
Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patrons Chris and Lorraine Platt pictured with host Mark Francois MP
The reception coincided with the publication of a new Survation poll, carried out in March 2023, which also found that two-thirds of those polled would support the Government providing financial support to farmers to move to free-farrowing methods. Only 15.5% would presently oppose a ban on farrowing crates.

A giant Mother’s Day card signed by dozens of MPs, Peers and celebrities, including Dame Joanna Lumley, was also delivered to Defra after the reception. The card asks Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey to ‘please give pigs a happier Mother’s Day’ and urges her to deliver on the Government’s 2021 commitment to launch a consultation for a farrowing crate ban.
The Crate Escape coalition is led by Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation and supported by Humane Society International UK and Compassion in World Farming
The Crate Escape campaign video
Patron Henry Smith MP’s Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill passes Final Stages in the House of Commons

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patron Henry Smith MP’s Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill passed its Remaining Stages in the House of Commons on 17th March, having passed its Committee Stage earlier this year. The Bill is now in the House of Lords to complete its passage to becoming law.

During proceedings, leader of the Bill Henry Smith MP said: “I hope we can move on to ensuring this legislation to protect the most endangered species in the world, and Britain playing its full part in doing that can proceed to its next stages”.

In her speech, CAWF Patron Anna Firth MP said: “Trophy hunting is a relic of the past, it has no place in modern Britain”. Meanwhile in his speech, Mark Francois MP thanked Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation and Co-Founder Lorraine Platt for all of its work on this important issue. He also spoke in memory of CAWF’s late Patron Sir David Amess MP who worked tirelessly on this issue.
Mark Francois MP thanks Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation and pays tribute to Sir David Amess MP

The commitment to ban trophy hunting imports was included in both the Conservative Manifesto 2019, and also Defra’s world-leading Action Plan for Animal Welfare published in 2021.

Last year several MPs alongside British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes spoke out against trophy hunting imports at Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation’s World Animal Day reception in memory of late Patron Sir David Amess, hosted at Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham by Jane Stevenson MP.

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patron Sir Roger Gale MP also Chairs the APPG on Banning Trophy Hunting, which has been campaigning for a ban on hunting trophy imports for many years.

Angela Richardson’s Animals (Low Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill passes Final Stages in the House of Commons

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation welcomed Conservative MP Angela Richardson’s Animals (Low Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill passing its final stages in the House of Commons on 17th March. This followed its previous stages in 2022 and earlier this year, which saw support across parties.

Many animal tourist attractions abroad involve poor animal welfare practices. Captured elephants abroad are often young and forced to endure long, painful beatings, while being deprived of water, food, and sleep. This process, designed to ‘domesticate’ the elephant, ensures submission for tourist activities.

The Government committed to taking action to end the UK’s role in advertising and selling such tourist activities. Defra’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare published in 2021 said: “Animals such as Asian elephants may be subjected to cruel and brutal training practices to ensure their obedience. We will legislate to ban the advertising and offering for sale here of specific, unacceptable practices abroad.”

This came following an Adjournment debate earlier this year on 24th January led by Patron Henry Smith MP on ‘Government support for animal welfare in overseas tourism’. 

During the debate Henry spoke on the hundreds of thousands of wild animals who are exploited for entertainment in the global tourism industry. These activities can include tiger cubs made to pose for selfie photographs, elephant rides and swimming with dolphins experiences, as well as captive dolphin shows. He said: “There needs to be new legislation banning the promotion of holidays and tours that include exploitative animal encounters in their advertisements, helping to end the miserable abuse by making such unethical advertising illegal.”
Shark Fins Bill progresses in the House of Lords
On 24th March Independent MP Christina Rees’ Shark Fins Bill passed its Second Reading in the House of Lords. The Bill delivers a Conservative Manifesto commitment to end the import and export of shark fins, and is currently awaiting its Committee Stage in the Lords.

On the commitment to end the import and export of shark fins, Lorraine Platt, Co-Founder of Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, commented: “We know that a number of species of shark are sadly classified as “critically endangered”, with the practice of shark finning playing a significant role in their decline. It is our hope that by banning the import and sale of shark fins the UK will send a strong message when it comes to protecting endangered species and standing up for the welfare of animals abroad.”
First ever reception to protect farmed fish held in Parliament

On 20th March Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF), The Humane League UK, Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), RSPCA and Soil Association organised the first ever parliamentary reception to highlight a lack of legal protection for farmed fish at the time of their slaughter in the UK. 

The reception, hosted by Crossbench Peer Lord Trees, raised the plight of the 55 million fish farmed annually in the UK – including 12 million trout in England – which do not receive the same legal protections at the time of slaughter as other terrestrial farmed animals. This is despite the scientific and legal recognition that fish are sentient, as set out in the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022.

Organisers of the reception included Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, The Humane League, Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), RSPCA and Soil Association
The event came ahead of the shortly expected publication of the updated ‘Opinion on the Welfare of Farmed Fish’ from the Animal Welfare Committee (formerly Farm Animal Welfare Committee). It is widely anticipated that this will further reaffirm the Committee’s recommendations from their 2014 Opinion on the same, which outlined that regulations were necessary, voluntary industry codes should not be relied on, and all farmed fish should be stunned before slaughter, amongst other recommendations.

The coalition organising the reception, including CAWF, are calling on the Government as well as devolved administrations to introduce regulations that afford farmed fish equivalent legal protection to terrestrial farmed animals at the time of killing. Lord Trees called for an end to these disparities in a piece in Politics Home.

Speakers included host Lord Trees, Shadow Defra Minister Daniel Zeichner MP, RSPCA Senior Scientific Officer Sean Black and Ronnie Soutar, Head of Veterinary Services at Scottish Sea Farms.

Finally, we would like to urge you to help our calls for the Kept Animals Bill to return by writing to your local MP. You can use our template here, and ask your MP to support the Bill’s progression.

We would like to thank you for your kind support and please do follow our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter social media sites for daily updates on our campaigns.

About Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF)

The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation was established in 2016 to raise awareness on the lives of billions of animals reared on intensive farms around the world and how this impact upon animal welfare, the environment and people’s health. We want to highlight the action people can take to help advance farm animal welfare.

Animal welfare is an increasing concern amongst the public, who frequently look to Government to take the lead in both maintaining and improving standards.

The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation believes it is highly important that the welfare of farm animals is placed at the forefront of the Governments plan for food and farming along with its focus on productivity, competitiveness, and technology.

Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Ltd
Company registration 09867991. Registered in England and Wales
Registered Office: Third Floor, 207 Regent Street, London, United Kingdom, W1B 3HH

Mailing List
Join the mailing list to receive our latest news.

Want to take action? Write to your local MP!