There are several major news stories going on at the moment but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the less newsworthy issues that still need addressing. Britain has long had a reputation of being a nation of animal lovers, and so it is fitting that we recognise this in the opportunities that will arise as we leave the European Union political organisation.
Crawley MP Henry Smith has a very strong record on animal welfare issues and the Conservative Government has increasingly been pursuing this agenda since coming into office in 2010. Further to making CCTV mandatory in slaughterhouses, improving puppy welfare and banning bee-harming pesticides, the Conservatives are introducing a ban on ivory sales, increasing sentencing for animal abusers and exploring a ban on the live export of animals for slaughter.
Improved puppy welfare will ensure that pet owners have no doubt their new dogs have had the right start in life. Measures include banning the sale of underage puppies, outlawing the breeding of dogs with severe genetic disorders, ensuring puppies are seen with their mothers present before sale and banning online sales before the buyer has seen the puppy.
Bees are essential for healthy pollination and bees are being saved by restricting harmful pesticides. The UK’s backing helped secure an EU-wide ban on neonicotinoid pesticides. These tougher restrictions are justified by the growing weight of scientific evidence they are harmful to bees and other pollinators.
From the smallest to the largest of creatures, we are Introducing one of the world’s toughest bans on ivory sales to help stop the poaching of elephants. It is very concerning that over the last decade, the number of elephants has declined by almost a third. It is also good to see that the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty are being increased tenfold to ensure those who commit the most shocking cruelty towards animals face suitably tough punishments.
While it can be argued there are more pressing issues to deal with, it doesn’t mean that in the background we shouldn’t be getting on and making the UK a global leader in animal welfare.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
11th July 2018