Animal Welfare Round-Up #6 – May 2016


Welcome to my latest Animal Welfare Round-Up. I send these out every two months so I can update you on the action I’ve been taking on animal welfare issues that many of you get in touch with me about.You can find my previous AWRUs on my website.



Animal Welfare Codes U-Turn
Since my last AWRU, the government has announced and then u-turned on a plan to repeal the Animal Welfare Codes. These ensure animal welfare standards, particularly within farming. A repeal would have allowed the industry to regulate its own standards, including with chickens, cattle, sheep and pigs. Charities were concerned that the move would lead to weaker standards and lead to fewer prosecutions.

While the government U-turn is welcome, it is concerning that they had intended to take this action in the first place. It goes to show that we need to keep monitoring and challenging announced government measures. My Labour colleagues and I will continue to do that. You can read more information about the U-turn here.



Bees and Pesticides
This issue is one that I’ve received the most emails from constituents about in the last month or two. Quite rightly, many people are worried about the declining bee population and the impact this would have if the downward trend continues. There have been concerns that the government may relax restrictions on the use of certain pesticides and that this, in turn, may harm bees and their populations even more. As such, last week I wrote to the government to communicate these concerns and ask the minister to address them. I will update you on the government response in my next AWRU.



Circus Animals – Update
In the last issue I covered the campaign to outlaw the use of animals in circuses. I wrote to the government to get answers from them about if and when they would introduce this legislation. The government have since provided this response to my letter. They say they are still committed to introducing this legislation, but haven’t allocated Parliamentary time for it. Let’s hope that it will be given time in the next parliamentary session this year.



The EU and Animal Welfare
In the debate about the EU, the issue of animal welfare is often overlooked. The EU plays an important role in improving animal welfare standards in the UK and across other European countries. In my last two AWRUs I have covered the EU Nature Directives which also help us preserve our environment.

As such, I wrote an article this week about the impact that the EU has on animal welfare. For me, this is another very good reason for voting in favour for Britain to remain in the European Union.



Reminder: Microchipping
If you own a dog and haven’t already done so, please take steps to have them microchipped. As you can see, as of 6th April this year, all dogs must now be microchipped. You can find more information at This will help lost or injured pets to be easily identified and returned to their owners.

Last year I was proud to support the Harvey’s Law campaign to ensure that pets killed on Britain’s roads must be collected, identified and their owners notified. You can read more about it 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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You can reach me by email at or use the form on the Contact page to send me a message.