Labour pledges to ban trophy hunting imports in overhaul of animal welfare laws

Party aims to bring welfare legislation 'into the 21st Century'

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 28 August 2019 11:34 BST
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Labour would ban trophy hunters from selling their spoils in the UK, end cruel fishing practices and consider ending the use of the whip in racing under plans for a radical overhaul of animal welfare laws.

Under the party's new manifesto, the controversial sale of souvenirs from wild animals such as lions, elephants and tigers would be made illegal, preventing wealthy hunters from profiting from trophies obtained abroad.

Labour would also call for a review into the use of whips by jockeys, ban people from owning pet monkeys, outlaw the sale of snares and glue traps, and change the laws on animal cruelty to include wild animals as well domestic pets.

The move will be seen as an attempt to seize the advantage from the Conservative government, which has outlawed ivory sales but stopped short of banning trophy hunting imports.

Boris Johnson's partner, the environmental campaigner Carrie Symonds, has publicly condemned the practice, telling a conference it "is cruel, it is sick, it is cowardly".

Announcing the manifesto, Sue Hayman, the shadow environment secretary, said: “Consulting with members and animal rights organisations means that our policies are not campaigns of the month like the Tories, but thought through and comprehensive measures that will bring Britain’s animal welfare policy into the 21st century.

“This suite of policies on animal welfare seeks to build upon the long standing leadership of the Labour party on the issue of animal welfare.

"From bringing forward the landmark Hunting Act to protecting the treatment of domestic animals under the Animal Welfare Act, Labour has always placed the welfare of animals high on the policy agenda.

“Labour will ensure that we have a comprehensive legislative agenda in place to make sure that the UK has animal rights protections equal to or better than anywhere in the world.”

The 50-point manifesto will also include a ban on electric pulse fishing and a commitment to prevent the return of commercial whaling, as well as a review of whether jockeys should be permitted to use the whip in horse racing.

Labour would also appoint an animal welfare commissioner to ensure welfare standards are part of any new legislation and post-Brexit trade deals.

But environment secretary Theresa Villiers dismissed the moves as "empty promises which Labour would not be able to deliver on".

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She said: “Boris Johnson and the Conservatives are already taking action on the important issue of trophy hunting and import of wild animal trophies from endangered species.

“I am passionate about enhancing protections for animals around the world. I intend to continue the good work of my predecessor to find the right solutions to conserve our wildlife. Labour are just playing catch up.

“Delivering Brexit presents the opportunity to strengthen our position as a world leader on animal welfare, which would not be delivered by Labour”

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