We were delighted to be have been given the opportunity to talk about the work of the Animal Interfaith Alliance at the Labour Animal Welfare Society’s (LAWS) conference yesterday, Saturday 20th February 2016 and explain the importance of the faith organisations in promoting the ethical reasons for kindness to animals, in order to improve their welfare. We are most grateful to Mark Glover of LAWS for inviting us and giving us this wonderful opportunity.
The keynote speaker was Kerry McCarthy MP, Shadow Defra Minister, who gave an excellent presentation about her work and the objectives for Labour in animal welfare. Other speakers included Josh Kaile, Head of Public Affairs for World Animal Protection (WAP), who spoke about Wildlife Crime: Domestic and International; Nick Palmer, Director of Policy at Cruelty Free International, who spoke about Animal Welfare: Does Labour Care?; Kevin Flack, Parliamentary Officer for IFAW, who talked about Animal Welfare in Europe and Mark Glover who discussed the European Referendum.
Mark Glover raised the point that, although LAWS could not effect government policy for at least four years, it could have a very effective role in other areas of politics, such as the EU, other international organisations, such as CITES, and Councils and other local bodies. Nick Palmer raised the point that although most labour MPs agreed with most animal welfare issues and were happy to sign EDMs and petitions, they gave animal welfare a low priority, such that they might not make the effort to turn out for a debate if they had other pressures. However, it was agreed that the current labour leadership had been the best leadership for animal welfare yet.
As regards the most topical issue of the day – membership of the EU, it was generally felt that staying in would be the best thing for animals due to all the animal protection legislation that had been achieved in Europe. Kerry McCarthy explained that EU legislation was about Protection and not Regulation. These EU achievements for animals included:
- Banning sow stalls and battery cages for eggs in the EU.
- Banning imports of cat & dog fur and seal products from commercial sea hunts into the EU.
- Banning EU members from killing whales and banning the import of whale products.
- Banning steel-jawed leghold traps within the EU.
- Banning the testing of cosmetics on animals in the EU.
- Banning driftnets for fishing saving countless sea mammals and birds.
- Banning the import of wild birds into the EU.
- Producing EU Directives on habitats and the protection of birds which conserve wildlife and migrating birds.
- Protecting wild animals.
As Mark Glover said – If animals could vote they would vote to remain in Europe.
We were also treated to a wonderful vegan lunch provide by Shambhu’s Catering http://www.shambhus.co.uk.
We would like to send our very best wishes to Wally Burley, LAWS Chair and a founder member of LAWS, who has been ill and is in hospital and was unable to attend the conference. We wish him a swift recovery.
For more information on LAWS go to http://www.labouranimalwelfaresociety.org.uk.
The Animal Interfaith Alliance is non-party political and supports the animal welfare societies of all political parties.