Animal Welfare Round-up Issue #2


Welcome to my second Animal Welfare Round-Up, where I regularly update you on some of the animal causes I have been campaigning on. You can read my inaugural AWRU #1 by clicking here.

No to repealing the Hunting Act (UPDATE)

Since my first AWRU, I have received hundreds more emails from local people urging me to vote no to any repeal.

Last month I wrote to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to express my concerns, and to remind the Government about the popularity of and success of the Act. I have now received a response, which you can read here. In it, the Minister confirmed the Government will give “Parliament the opportunity to repeal the Hunting Act on a free vote, with a Government bill.”

That vote was originally scheduled to take place two weeks ago (15 July). However the Government cancelled the vote at the last minute – fearing they would lose the vote.

I have always been a strong supporter of the ban on hunting with dogs in parliament. Over ten years on since the ban became law, I continue to hold the same view and remain tremendously proud that the Labour Party helped to ban hunting with dogs.

The new vote has yet to be scheduled and it is not clear how they will propose it. But whether it’s through a Government bill or statutory instrument… I will be voting to #KeeptheBan on hunting with dogs.


Speaking up for seals

SealsIn my inaugural Round-Up I also wrote to Defra, to see what steps the Government were taking to ensure an effective ban on seal killing.

Many of you were in touch with me regarding the protection of seals from hunting. In coastal areas across the UK, fishermen are killing seals in order to prevent a decline in fish stocks.

In the Minister’s reply (see here), he suggests that the English seal population is adequately safeguarded by the Conservation of Seals Act 1970, but expects soon-to-be-launched European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMMF) grant scheme to assist fishermen with non-lethal deterrents.

He also states the majority of the seal population is based in Scotland and is therefore under the responsibility of the Scottish Government. As a result I have tabled a Parliamentary Question to ask how Defra is cooperating with the Scots on this matter. Unfortunately using the response we received the UK Government have had no talks whatsoever.

Save the bees. Ban the pesticides.

201506 - Bees 2Lots of local people have also been getting in touch about the threat to bees recently. They may be very small – but bees are vital for our environment, and our economy too. It would cost UK farmers £1.8 billion a year to pollinate their crops without bees.

But sadly, bees have lost much of their natural habitat in the past 60 years – and are under threat from pesticides and intensive farming.

That’s why I was pleased to join Friends of the Earth and 38 Degrees last night, to back their campaign to protect bees. You can find out more here.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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