Sheep in a lorry. Image by Lesley via Flickr

Labour would ban live animal exports from Ramsgate

Labour today launches radical action on Animal Welfare that would look at introducing a ban on the live export of animals for slaughter.

My party’s 50 point draft policy document, ‘Animal Welfare For The Many, Not The Few’, will go out for public consultation and proposes appointing an Animal Welfare Commissioner to ensure Government policy is continually informed by the latest scientific evidence on animal sentience.

The Commissioner would also ensure animal welfare standards are always considered in new legislation and are maintained in Britain’s involvement in international bodies and post-Brexit trade deals.

Ramsgate’s cruel history

In September 2012 a lorry containing live sheep for export was found at Ramsgate Port to have many animals which were suffering unduly. Their conditions were such that 44 sheep had to be put down. Three others died as a result of an accident.

For many years the exports have continued from Ramsgate and Dover. At Ramsgate each shipment is met with protests from groups such as Kent Action Against Live Exports who have been doing much to highlight the live shipments.

I believe the live exports for slaughter to be wholly unnecessary. Many of the animals have been transported hundreds of miles before they reach Ramsgate and have endured cramped conditions throughout. Labour’s stance on this should see an end to the practise.

Labour is the party of animal welfare

The action plan would also consult landlords on giving tenants the right to keep a pet, strengthen the Hunting Act, enshrine the principal of animal sentience in law, end the badger cull, implement a review of animal testing and expand affordable vet care for people on low incomes.

The proposals have been endorsed by the League against Cruel Sports, Compassion in World Farming and WWF.

Proposed policies include:

  • Enshrining the principle of animal sentience in law, ensuring it covers all policy areas to prevent practices that expose animals to cruel and degrading treatment
  • Strengthening the Hunting Act to close loopholes that allow illegal hunting
  • Consult landlords on giving tenants the default right to keep pets unless there is evidence the animal is causing a nuisance
  • Mandatory labelling of domestic and imported meat, including country of origin, method of production and slaughter (stun or non-stun)
  • Establishing an independent zoo inspectorate to draw up revised standards of animal welfare
  • Total ban on imports of Foie Gras
  • Ending the badger cull
  • Requiring motorists to report accidents where an animal has been injured
  • Banning live exports of animals for slaughter or fattening and introducing mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses
  • Designing post-Brexit farm subsidies to move away from intensive factory farming and bad environmental practices
  • Prohibiting the third party sale of puppies and tackling puppy smuggling by reintroducing rabies testing before entry into the UK
  • Working with organisations like the PDSA to expand accessibility to affordable vet care for pet owners on low incomes
  • A comprehensive review of animal testing with a view to improving practice, limiting animal suffering and increasing transparency
  • Introducing a ‘blue belt’ to protect and enhance the marine environment around the UK and our overseas territories

Driving up standards

Post-Brexit the UK will no longer be subject to EU-wide rules on animal welfare. Along with new trade deals, there is an opportunity for us to ensure a comprehensive legislative agenda is in place so this country is at the forefront of animal rights.

No animal should suffer unnecessary pain. Today’s launch of ‘Animal Welfare For The Many, Not The Few’ is a progressive step towards making this a reality.

Update: Interview on BBC Radio Kent

This morning I spoke to Anna Cookson on the BBC Radio Kent Breakfast programme about the launch of the draft policy document.


Sheep photograph by Lesley via Flickr