What a start we have had to 2022!
We were delighted to welcome the completion of the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill as it finished its passage in the House of Lords. The Bill delivers on key commitments included in the world-leading Action Plan for Animal Welfare and its successful journey through Parliament represents a huge achievement. By recognising animal sentience in law we will strengthen our future legislation.
Throughout its journey, the Bill has enjoyed cross-party support from MPs and Peers, as well as from the more than 50 animal welfare organisations -including CAWF- who form the Better Deal for Animals Coalition (BDFA). We are proud to have supported this important legislation and were pleased to see our briefing raised in Committee Stage to the Minister Jo Churchill MP earlier this year. CAWF also campaigned for the inclusion of decapod crustaceans and cephalopods, which was successfully adopted through a government amendment in November 2021. We can soon proudly be a country which recognises and respects animal sentience in law.
Several of our other campaigns have also advanced over the last few months. In February we published a joint report with Animal Equality UK on fish slaughter and the case for mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses, which was covered by The Times. We continue to press for stronger legal protections for fish and other aquatic animals who are so often forgotten in legislation and look forward to building on this important work throughout the rest of the year.
Meanwhile, the Beatrice’s Bill coalition led by CAWF, the Humane League and RSPCA which aims to end cages for laying hens in the UK secured the support of Waitrose at the end of January. This was followed by a parliamentary reception last week hosted by CAWF Patron and Beatrice’s Bill champion Henry Smith MP, where we were joined by the Secretary of State for Defra the Rt Hon. George Eustice MP, Shadow Defra Minister Daniel Zeichner MP, and a host of campaigners and celebrities.
There is much to look forward to, with the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill being carried over into the next parliamentary session to ban live animal exports for slaughter and fattening, and more. We also look forward to the Animals Abroad Bill to end trophy hunting imports, foie gras and fur imports and to ban advertisements for unethical elephant-related tourist attractions.
We’re excited to see what the rest of the year holds in store as we continue to campaign for greater animal welfare standards in the UK with our patrons and the MPs and Peers that we work with, without whom none of this would be possible. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy our latest news below and have a very happy Easter.
With warmest wishes,
Chris and Lorraine Platt
Sentience Bill progresses through Parliament On 18th January the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill entered its second reading in the House of Commons, and it later received its committee stage on 10th February, its Third Reading and Report Stage on 14th March, and finally passed the final stage in the House of Lords yesterday on 7th April. It has been wonderful to see so much support across parties in the House of Commons and Lords for animal sentience. We were particularly pleased to see Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patron Tracey Crouch MP raise the importance of including crustaceans in the Bill throughout proceedings, something which the CAWF has long campaigned for and which was included in the Bill through a government amendment in November. You can read more about our work to have crustaceans included in the Sentience Bill here, and our report on crustacean sentience here.
Other highlights have included having our written evidence raised by Kerry McCarthy MP at Committee Stage, on the importance of ensuring a wide range of leading animal sentience experts are on the Animal Sentience Committee. You can watch this here.
CAWF Patron Henry Smith MP tables Amendment to the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill On 20th January we welcomed an amendment laid by our Patron Henry Smith MP to the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill on the handling and transport of laying hens prior to slaughter. The amendment would protect end of lay hens from rough handling while loading for transport and ensure better welfare conditions during travel. Specifically, it would legislate for: The prohibition of catching, lifting, or carrying a hen by one or both legs, or more than one hen at a time in each hand. Ensuring hens have enough room to stand upright without difficulty during transport. Their head, wings, and legs must also not be trapped in or between transport devices. Penalties for acting in violation of these regulations. Co-signatories to the amendment include Conservative Animal Welfare Patrons Sir Roger Gale MP, Chris Loder MP and Giles Watling MP.
Henry Smith MP had a comment piece in ConHome on 20th January on the subject of his amendment,
which you can read here.
Beatrice’s Bill coalition secures the support of Waitrose On 31st January the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, Humane League, and CAWF Patron Henry Smith MP met in the Waitrose Victoria store with UK food company Waitrose to discuss support for ending cages for laying hens in the UK.
In September last year Henry Smith MP led the Hen Caging (Prohibition) Bill), known as ‘Beatrice’s Bill’ after the rescue hen at the centre of a campaign coordinated by Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, The Humane League, and RSPCA, which aims to see the UK end cages for egg-laying hens. The Bill had its first reading on 22nd September 2021 and was scheduled to have its second reading in March.
More information on the Beatrice’s Bill campaign can be found here. The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation report Banning Cages for Egg-Laying Hens can be read here.
CAWF publishes new report with Animal Equality on the case for strengthened welfare in fish slaughterhouses On 12th February the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation published a new joint report with Animal Equality: ‘The Case for Regular Inspections and Mandatory CCTV in Fish Slaughterhouses.’
The report urges the Government to enforce stronger protections for fish and other aquatic animals. Key recommendations include mandatory CCTV in fish slaughterhouses, regular and consistent inspections, and legal protections included in Welfare At Time of Killing (WATOK) regulations to offer fish the same protections as that of other farmed animals, given the clear evidence for their sentience. We also recommend an official, detailed governmental code of practice for finfish and other aquatic animals.
The Times covered the launch of this report, which you can read here. The full report can be found here.
CAWF presses for a ban on foie gras and fur imports in the ‘Animals Abroad Bill’ In February CAWF joined a number of animal welfare campaigners in calling for a ban on foie gras and fur imports in the Animal Welfare (Animals Abroad) Bill following reports in the media that the bans could potentially be dropped.
On 12th February CAWF Co-Founders Chris and Lorraine Platt signed a Letter to the Editor of The Times alongside six Conservative MPs including Patrons Sir Roger Gale MP and Tracey Crouch MP calling for the ban. Meanwhile, CAWF Patron Tracey Crouch MP outlined why a ban on the import of fur and foie gras must go ahead in a comment piece for The Times.
CAWF responds to Faroe Islands trade deal agreement Following the announcement that the UK had signed a free trade agreement with the Faroe Islands in February, CAWF responded with a statement outlining its disappointment in light of the large scale massacre of dolphins and whales as part of the grindatrap hunting festival in September last year. CAWF commented in its statement that it is critical the Government does not compromise on animal welfare standards when forming international agreements.
CAWF stands firmly with animal welfare campaigners and its Patrons, including Lord Zac Goldsmith, who rightly spoke out against these killings and wrote to the Faroese and Danish governments condemning the massacre last year. In October last year CAWF Director Peter Hall AM participated in a rally against the grindadrap outside Parliament which you can view here.
CAWF welcomes Defra’s Animal Health and Welfare Pathway At the start of March CAWF welcomed Secretary of State for Defra the Rt Hon. George Eustice MP’s announcement of the next steps in the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, a programme of financial support for farmers in the pig, cattle, sheep and poultry sectors, based around key animal health and welfare priorities. Speaking at the NFU Conference in February 2022, the Secretary of State set out plans for: Government-funded vet visits Grants for welfare improvements, and Health and welfare priorities for each sector. Key measures being explored include supporting producers to shift away from the use of enriched cages for laying hens, which can restrict hens’ normal behaviours such as dustbathing. It will also improve feather cover management in order to allow farmers to address the underlying root causes of feather pecking, and reduce the need for infra-red beak trimming. Other welfare priorities include implementing the Better Chicken Commitment, which requires slower-growing breeds and lower stocking densities.
CAWF is pleased to see that many of our proposals including ending pig farrowing crates, ending cages, ending beak trimming, ending tail docking, lowering stocking densities, and using slower growing breeds were included in the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway.
CAWF supports ending trophy hunting imports In March CAWF supported Patron Sir Roger Gale MP, Chair of the APPG on Banning Trophy Hunting (photographed below), at a gathering outside Parliament. Sir Roger and members of the APPG were joined by campaigners and charities urging the Government to continue pursuing a ban on trophy hunting imports.
CAWF also published new polling in March which showed overwhelming support for banning trophy hunting imports. The survey results showed the proposal is popular among voters as a whole, and is strongly backed by Conservative voters in particular. Asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement: “The UK Government should ban trophy hunters from bringing back trophies of hunted animals as soon as possible”, 86% of voters agreed, while just 2% disagreed. However, among Conservative voters, the poll showed that 92% agreed, while only 1% disagreed. You can read the full polling results in our briefing here.
CAWF praises Government announcement to welcome refugees with their pets In March the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation welcomed the Government announcement that Ukrainian refugees will be allowed into the UK with their pets, free of charge. The announcement highlighted that: Refugees fleeing Ukraine can bring pets with them when coming to the UK The Animal and Plant Health Agency will provide quick approvals to expedite the emergency licence process The Government will cover the costs of any necessary stays in quarantine for the pets of those fleeing Ukraine. The Government’s full press release can be found here.
Beatrice’s Bill coalition hosts parliamentary reception At the end of March the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, the Humane League UK, and the RSPCA organised a parliamentary reception bringing together influential figures across the media, government and food sector to call for an end to cages for laying hens. The reception was hosted by CAWF Patron Henry Smith MP and attended by politicians from across the political spectrum including the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs the Rt Hon. George Eustice MP and the Shadow Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries Daniel Zeichner MP.
Also in attendance were vegan author and TV star Lucy Watson and her husband James Dunmore, media personality Kirsty Gallacher, TV veterinarian Marc Abraham and actor Peter Egan, as well as food industry representatives from Waitrose and Greggs.
We would like to thank the Secretary of State for his speech, as well as CAWF Patron Henry Smith MP for hosting this reception and bringing parliamentarians, campaigners and celebrity supporters together around this important issue.
You can read more here, and enjoy some highlights below!
Left to right: Actor Peter Egan, Secretary of State for Defra the Rt. Hon George Eustice MP, celebrity Lucy Watson, TV presenter Kirsty Gallacher, CAWF Patron Henry Smith MP, celebrity vet Marc Abraham, and Shadow Defra Minister Daniel Zeichner MP.
Above left: CAWF Patron Sir Roger Gale MP joins calls to end cages for laying hens. Above right: Henry Smith MP delivers his speech to the Beatrice’s Bill reception. Below centre: CAWF Co-Founders Chris and Lorraine Platt are joined by Secretary of State the Rt. Hon George Eustice MP (left) and host Henry Smith MP (right). CAWF supports the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill We would like to congratulate Baroness Fookes for leading the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill successfully through its Committee Stage in the House of Lords and to Jane Stevenson MP (photographed below at CAWF’s World Animal Day event at Conservative Party Conference in 2021) for introducing this important Bill to end cruel glue traps which cause immense suffering for animals.
Thank you for all your kind support and action to advance animal welfare.
With best wishes,
Chris, Lorraine and all at the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation
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.