Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Summer Newsletter 2023
Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Summer Newsletter 2023
August 10, 2023
Read our Summer Newsletter 2023 below:
We hope you are enjoying a relaxing summer. From briefing officials at 10 Downing Street, to launching our new report on perceptions of farm animal welfare, it’s certainly been a busy few months since our last update in April.
With a General Election now on the horizon, CAWF launched its 2024 Manifesto ‘Leading the Way for Animals’ in July which set out key policy recommendations for the Conservative Party to adopt in their next Manifesto. This coincided with some brand new polling we commissioned through Opinium, which showed two thirds of people (64%) would feel more positively about a political party if they included a strong commitment to animal protection.
Last month we also launched a new report ‘Farm Animal Welfare in the UK: What Does the British Public Want?’ which reveals the significant gap between what the British public demands as citizens and consumers, and the realities of what they receive via standard UK farming industry methods of production and practices.
Meanwhile last week our Co-Founder Chris Platt delivered a speech at the 2023 Animal and Vegan Advocacy (AVA) Summit in Los Angeles, United States. We were delighted with this opportunity to expand our international presence and advise other countries on building genuine, Conservative animal welfare advocacy.
Of course, all of this has taken place against the backdrop of major legislative changes on animal welfare. We have been disappointed by moves to drop the long-promised Consultation on animal welfare labelling, and the discontinuation of the Kept Animals Bill (which included an end to live exports for fattening and slaughter). While we remain supportive of the Government’s approach to deliver these measures through alternative legislative vehicles, we fear not all of these can become law before the next General Election. We are calling for a specific Government-led Bill on live exports, to ensure this vital policy and key Manifesto commitment for farmed animals is honoured.
We are also urging our supporters to ask their local MP to write to the Prime Minister and ensure time is set aside for a Government Live Exports Bill.
Read on for more information about all of this and much more. We hope you have a restful summer, and look forward to continuing to keep you up to date with our latest work.
Thank you for your support and best wishes,
Chris and Lorraine Platt
Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Co-Founder Chris Platt delivers speech at the Animal and Vegan Advocacy Summit in Los Angeles
On 29th July Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Co-Founder Chris Platt delivered a speech at the 2023 Animal and Vegan Advocacy (AVA) Summit in Los Angeles, United States.
In his speech to delegates, Chris spoke about the formation of Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation and the importance of engaging with policymakers and legislators across political divides. He emphasised the importance of building a genuine and effective Conservative animal welfare movement.
Chris also touched on the principle of longtermism, which “calls for the contemplation of our actions and policies, and how they impact on future generations and all living beings, including animals“.
He added that: “Animals don’t care who you work with. They don’t care whether you are left or right, Democrat or Republican. They care about how you affect change.”
CAWF Co-Founder Chris Platt (right) with Lisa Levinson, Campaigns Director at In Defense of Animals, Altamush Saeed, Co-Director at Charity Doings Foundation, and Renee King-Sonnen, Founder at Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, at the AVA Summit 2023.
Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation invited to Downing Street to discuss advancing animal welfare in the UK
On 20th June Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Co-Founders Chris and Lorraine Platt were invited to discuss the advancement of animal welfare in the UK with officials at 10 Downing Street.
Chris and Lorraine Platt met with officials to discuss the delivery of measures included in the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill which was discontinued in May, as well as other key campaigns to improve the lives of farmed animals such as ending cages for laying hens.
Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patron Sir Roger Gale MP celebrates 40 years serving as the Conservative MP for North Thanet
On 8th June Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation congratulated longstanding Patron Sir Roger Gale on his 40th anniversary as the Conservative MP for North Thanet. During this time, he served under nine Prime Ministers and two monarchs.
During his 40-year tenure Sir Roger has served on several Select Committees – including the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Broadcasting Select Committee. He has also served as PPS to a number of Defence Ministers throughout the 1990s. Under Iain Duncan Smith, Sir Roger was Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party. In 2012 he was knighted.
On Monday 24th July Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation launched a new report ‘Farm Animal Welfare in the UK: What Does the British Public Want?’ which reveals the significant gap between what the British public demands as citizens and consumers, and the realities of what they receive via UK farming industry methods of production and practices.
The report is authored by Dr Steven McCulloch, veterinary surgeon, expert in animal welfare and Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Head of Research. It reviews a wealth of polling, research, and data to reveal the vast majority of modern British farming is out of sync with public demand for high animal welfare standards.
Amongst other farming practices, the research spotlights the use of cages – which 88% of the British public believe to be cruel. Despite this, approximately 60% of the UK’s breeding sows are kept in farrowing crates and around 30% of laying hens are kept in cages for most of their lives.
The press release, here, includes comments from Co-Founder Lorraine Platt, Dame Andrea Jenkyns MP, Patrons Henry Smith MP and Lord Zac Goldsmith, and Dr Steven McCulloch.
On 25th May Defra Minister Mark Spencer MP confirmed the Government had discontinued the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which would have ended live exports for fattening and slaughter. Instead, the Government committed to delivering the measures of the Kept Animals Bill through individual Bills or other legislative vehicles. You can read CAWF’s statement in response here.
Shortly after the announcement, former Secretary of State for Defra and Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patron Theresa Villiers MP had a comment piece in Politics Home, which you can read here, where she urged the Government to act without delay in delivering 2019 animal welfare Manifesto commitments.
Meanwhile CAWF Co-Founder Lorraine Platt spoke on TalkTV with Trisha Goddard on the necessity of delivering an end to live exports for fattening and slaughter (below).
CAWF Co-Founder Lorraine Platt on TalkTV
Conservative MP and animal welfare champion Andrea Jenkyns MP launched an e-petition to see the Kept Animals Bill returned. You can watch her petition video below, and read coverage of the petition in The Express here.
Later in June, Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation supported the ‘Ban live exports’ international awareness day. This annual awareness day is joined by NGOs, charities, campaigners, and politicians across the globe.
Lorraine Platt, Co-Founder of Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, commented: “Today we are united with many NGOs, charities, and campaigners around the world in our call for an end to live exports for fattening and slaughter. Farmed animals endure long, gruelling journeys for days or even weeks at a time – only to arrive at destinations countries which may not share our regard for animal welfare. Only legislation can prevent this practice from continuing in future, and we urge the Government to urgently bring forward a Bill to do just this.”
On 21st June an Opposition Day Debate took place in the House of Commons, which called for the return of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill. A number of Conservative MPs contributed to the debate and expressed their strong support for delivering the measures included in the Kept Animals Bill, including Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patrons Henry Smith MP, Anna Firth MP and Theresa Villiers MP.
Theresa Villiers spoke on the particular importance of ending live exports, stating “the time has come for us to put an end to this cruel trade”. Other Conservative MPs who demonstrated their commitment to the components of the Bill included Louie French MP, Robbie Moore MP, Peter Gibson MP, Selaine Saxby MP, Andrea Jenkyns MP, and Iain Duncan Smith MP.
Secretary of State for Defra Dr Thérèse Coffey MP concluded the debate by stating: “Clearly there is strong support for the Government’s ambitions on animal welfare right across the House, and I can assure the House that this Conservative Government and Conservative MPs are fully committed to delivering our Manifesto commitments.”
The Opposition Motion did not pass; with 183 votes for and 256 against.
Over the summer we are asking our supporters to write to their local MP and request they write to the Prime Minister to ensure he allocates parliamentary time for a Government Bill on ending live exports to pass. Use the link below to use our template email.
On 19th July Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation responded to the news that Defra decided they do not “consider the time is right to consult on proposals to reform labelling for animal welfare”.
This followed the Government’s Call for Evidence at the end of 2021 which gathered data on the impacts, cost, and deliverability of different types of labelling reforms for animal welfare, which CAWF responded to. Defra received over 1600 responses which overwhelmingly supported the introduction of mandatory labelling.
The implementation of mandatory animal welfare labelling is one of Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation’s core campaigns. Through informing consumers about the standards by which animals have been reared, they are empowered to make decisions which align with their beliefs.
Lorraine Platt, Co-Founder of Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, commented: “We are deeply disappointed the Government does not consider the “time is right” to consult on mandatory animal welfare labelling, following their Call for Evidence last year.
“When consumers are provided accurate information about how the meat they purchase was reared and how it was slaughtered, they are empowered to choose higher welfare produce and increase demand for such products. We believe this would incentivise a shift away from the use of low welfare farming practices.
“Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation will continue to campaign for mandatory labelling to be introduced, and hope that the Government will reconsider their decision.”
Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation joins Crustacean Compassion reception
We were pleased to join Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patrons Sir Roger Gale MP and Tracey Crouch MP at the Crustacean Compassion parliamentary reception in July, supporting aquatic animal welfare.
Meeting of the Aquatic Animal Alliance
CAWF also attended the coalition meeting of the Aquatic Animal Alliance, to discuss strategy for a pre-emptive ban on the importation of octopus products from farmed octopuses.
In July we launched our 2024 Manifesto with new public polling revealing animal welfare is a key consideration for voters.
The document, titled, ‘Leading the Way for Animals’ set out key policy recommendations for the Conservative Party to adopt in their 2024 General Election Manifesto. The Manifesto includes exclusive polling commissioned by Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation and carried out by Opinium in June.
The polling showed strong public support for political parties who legislate to enhance the lives of animals, and the extent to which the public values animal welfare as a consideration when casting their vote.
Key policy recommendations include:
End live exports for fattening and slaughter. Polling shows over a third (38%) of people think ending live exports is the most, or one of the most, important issues for them.
Commit to a fixed and fair phase out period of the use of farrowing crates for sows and gilts in the UK. Farrowing crates are small cages which sows are kept in for weeks at a time during their breeding lives. They are so restrictive the sow cannot even turn around or interact with her piglets.
Commit to a fixed and fair phase out period for enriched cages for laying hens. Although cage-free eggs are increasingly popular with consumers, 35% (some 14 million birds) still live in cages.
Introduce mandatory animal welfare labelling on all meat products for human consumption. Polling shows two in three (64%) of 2019 Conservative voters would support the introduction of a mandatory animal welfare labelling system.
Legislate to ensure farmed fish have the equivalent legal protection to that of terrestrial farmed animals. This is particularly important at the time of slaughter – we are calling for all fish to be stunned prior to killing. Despite both being recognised as sentient in UK law, farmed fish do not receive the same protections as terrestrial farmed animals.
New polling released with the Manifesto shows that:
Two thirds of people (64%) would feel more positively about a political party if they included a strong commitment to animal protection. Strong commitments to animal protection would have a more positive effect on 2019 Labour voters (74%) than 2019 Conservative voters (61%).
A majority (53%) think the Conservative Government should do more for animals if re-elected.
Three quarters (75%) of 2019 Conservative voters say that keeping Manifesto promises is the most, or one of the most, important issues for them.
On 16th June CAWF Patron Henry Smith MP’s Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill passed its Second Reading in the House of Lords led by Conservative Peer Baroness Fookes.
This followed the passage of the Bill through the House of Commons which had its First Reading in June 2022 and completed its Remaining Stages earlier this year. Throughout its passage through the House of Commons, it has received strong support from all political parties as well as from Mark Francois MP, and Patrons Anna Firth MP and Sir Roger Gale MP, who all made contributions to its passing in the Commons. You can watch some of these contributions on the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation YouTube channel here.
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.
Henry Smith MP published a comment piece on his Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill in Conservative Home, which can be read here. In his piece, he wrote that: “Generations to come will look back in disbelief at the treatment of majestic animals like elephants, lions and rhinos which need our protection now more than ever. With global wildlife on the decline, we must send a strong message to those who seek to destroy it.”
As the Bill awaits its Committee Stage later this year, CAWF has been involved with a number of parliamentary receptions hosted by Henry Smith MP. Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation is urging Peers to #BackTheBill and speak out against hostile amendments designed to thwart its progress.
We are also urging our supporters to write to their local MP and ask them to write to the Prime Minister to ensure time is set aside for this Bill to return to the Commons if needed – so that hostile amendments can be voted down. Use our link below.
On 10th May Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patron Anna Firth MP launched her new Private Members Bill, the Animal Welfare (Responsibility for Dog Attacks) Bill.
CAWF worked extensively behind the scenes to support the launch of the Bill, which would address a key gap in the law which currently states that a dog owner is not liable for any form of prosecution when their dog fatally attacks another dog.
The Bill is informally named ‘Emilie’s Law’ after Anna Firth MP’s constituent Michael’s bichon frise who lost her life to a dog attack in 2021 at a park in Leigh-on-Sea. It will criminalise fatal dog-on-dog attacks in the UK, ensuring that irresponsible dog owners are held to account. It had its First Reading on 23rd May, where MPs across parties supported Emilie’s Law. CAWF was heavily involved in coordinating cross party support prior to the First Reading.
You can read more about Emilie’s Law in The Express here, which includes a comment piece from Anna Firth MP here. You can also watch Anna Firth MP on GB News speaking about Emilie’s Law here.
We are looking forward to supporting the Second Reading of Emilie’s Law in November.
On 29th June the Shark Fins Act passed into law. This was a Private Members Bill led by Labour MP Christina Rees and led in the House of Lords by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch.
The Shark Fins Act bans the import and export of detached shark fins in order to promote shark conservation. It will extend to imported and exported products containing shark fins including tinned shark fin soup.
Shark finning is the cruel and wasteful practice of removing a shark’s fins at sea and discarding the finless body back in the water. The practice has been banned in the UK since 2003 through the Shark Finning Regulation, and since 2009 a ‘Fins Naturally Attached’ policy has been enforced to further combat illegal finning of sharks in UK waters and by UK vessels worldwide.
Lorraine Platt, Co-Founder of Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, commented: “We are delighted to celebrate the Shark Fins Act passing into law today. The practice of shark finning is incredibly cruel and completely incompatible with our nation’s regard for animal welfare.
“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.”
Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation welcomes launch of Animal Sentience Committee
On 25th May Defra launched the first ever Animal Sentience Committee with the appointment of five new members.
The Animal Sentience Committee is an independent body which will support Parliament in providing expert advice on how policies across Government Departments consider and impact upon animal welfare. This forms a key part of the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act passed in 2022 and delivers on a Conservative Manifesto commitment.
Coinciding with the news, the Government also launched an eight-week public consultation on introducing penalty notices to bolster enforcement for animal health and welfare offences – meaning those who commit offences such as importing illegal animal products could face fines of up to £5,000.
Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill passes Second Reading
On 14th July Conservative MP Angela Richardson’s Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill passed its Second Reading in the House of Lords led by Lord Black of Brentwood. Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation welcomed this progress and looks forward to supporting the Bill into its next stages.
Thank you to all of our Patrons and supporters who make this work possible.
With best wishes,
The CAWF Team
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.
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