The term fake news is one that came from America and has been associated with events there. However, last week we had a major example of fake news right here in the UK. A story in a national left-wing newspaper stated “The Tories have rejected all scientists and voted that animals don’t feel pain”. This spread like wildfire on social media, including by television presenters with large social media followings. It was estimated that two million people had seen online material relating to this story and nearly half a million people signed online petitions to protest.
However, this story simply wasn’t true. Left-wing politicians and media deliberately misrepresented a procedural technicality to stir up bad feelings among our nation of animal lovers. It worked. As well as those with left-wing political agendas, thousands of unsuspecting people were hoodwinked and unwittingly spread this fake news. While there has been reporting of the story being untrue and some celebrities like Ben Fogle did issue corrections, many people will still be unaware of the truth.
It had been falsely claimed that a vote on an amendment on the EU Withdrawal Bill was signalling a weakening in the protection of animals, but this was completely wrong. The reality was that the amendment itself was faulty and that Brexit will actually enable us to have stronger animal welfare laws than the EU. The Conservative Government has a very strong record on animal welfare and will ensure animal sentience is recognised in UK law, going further to enhance the UK’s status as a world leader in animal protection.
I myself recently wrote a column here about how the Conservatives are increasing the maximum prison sentence for animal abusers to up to five years, which is more than almost every other European nation. We are also making CCTV mandatory in all slaughterhouses - a requirement that goes above and beyond any EU rule. Crawley MP Henry Smith personally successfully led on making this law. The Conservatives are also combatting elephant poaching with a ban on the ivory trade that is more comprehensive than anywhere else in Europe.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
29th November 2017