RSPCA Inspector, Angela Smith MP, veterinary nurse from Jacqui Patersons, Louise Baldock and a small kitten.
The last Labour government achieved much to end the cruel and unnecessary suffering of animals: the banning of hunting with dogs, securing an end to cosmetic testing on animals, banning fur farming and introducing the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
This is a legacy we are proud of.
Louise invited Angela Smith MP, Labour's Shadow Minister for Animal Welfare, to meet a local vet and a RSPCA inspector to talk about the welfare of horses, rabbits and to reaffirm both their commitments to stop fox hunting.
The next Labour government will continue to lead the way on animal welfare, starting with six key commitments that build on our previous achievements at home and abroad:
1. Only Labour will protect the Hunting Act
Ten years ago the Labour Party ended the cruel practice of hunting with dogs, because we believe that causing defenceless animals to suffer in the name of sport has no place in a civilised society. But just as we celebrate the Hunting Act, the Tories plan to repeal it. Only Labour can protect the Hunting Act because Labour is the only major party committed to defending it. Louise is a strong supporter of the hunting ban and raised it with Labour's Minister for Animal Welfare on a visit to Stockton.
2. Labour will ban wild animals in circuses
Travelling circuses are no place for wild animals. Being moved from place to place in cramped and substandard enclosures, forced training and performance, loud noises and crowds of people are the unavoidable distressing realities for animals in circuses. Despite promising to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, the Tory-led Government has failed to do so. The next Labour government will ban this cruel practice.
3. Labour will end the ineffective and inhumane badger culls
Badger culls are supposed to reduce Bovine TB but experts say the Tories’ culls will make the problem worse. Following repeated failures to meet deadlines and targets, the Tories are effectively pursing an unscientific mass cull with no rigorous monitoring or evaluation. Labour will end this and develop a better plan to eradicate Bovine TB.
4. Labour will improve the protection of dogs and cats
At present we have ineffective regulation, a lack of information for pet owners and a failure to deal with irresponsible and cruel breeding practices. Labour will review the inadequate regulations on the sale and breeding of dogs and cats and develop a new strategy to improve their welfare.
5. Labour will tackle wildlife crime and reduce animal cruelty on shooting estates
More needs to be done to protect animal welfare on shooting estates. The next Labour government will undertake an independent review into the most effective way to end the illegal persecution of birds of prey, such as the hen harrier; prevent non-target animals getting trapped in snares; and ensure the humane treatment of game birds.
6. Labour will lead the fight against global animal cruelty
The humane treatment of animals should be a benchmark for any civilised society. National governments have a duty to work together to prevent cruelty around the world. Labour will push to end all commercial whaling and prevent the poaching and near extinction of endangered species such as elephants, rhinos and tigers.