Animal Welfare Round-Up – October 2016


Welcome to my latest Animal Welfare Round-Up. This is a newsletter I send out every two months to update you on the issues that many of you get in touch with me about. This allows me to update you on the action I’ve been taking on your behalf on these issues. You can find my previous AWRUs here.

Bees and Pesticides

This issue is one that I’ve received the most emails from constituents about in recent months. Quite rightly, many people have been worried about the declining bee population and the impact this would have if the downward trend continues. There have also been concerns that the government may relax restrictions on the use of certain pesticides, particularly in light of Brexit. I wrote to the government about bees and pesticides earlier this year and you can read the government’s response to my letter here. I will be continuing to monitor this.

Badger Cull

The government has made a decision to extend the controversial badger cull into six new counties in England. I understand the concerns that the cull has been ineffective and inhumane. Many scientists continue to remain sceptical about this very costly measure of controlling the spread of bovine tuberculosis. Consequently I have written to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on this issue.

Hunting Trophies

A recent report published by IFAW showed that as many as 1.7 million hunting trophies may have been traded between nations between 2004 and 2014. Some progress has been made over the past couple of decades in reducing the trade of hunting trophies, however these continue to enter the United Kingdom. I received lots of emails from constituents who share my concern about the prevalance of this trade. I tabled questions to DEFRA to ask what action they are taking and how the UK is cooperating with other countries to prevent the global trade of these trophies.

Bull Burning in Spain

One of the first Early Day Motions I signed as an MP was EDM 56 in 1992 against bullfighting. Inhumane treatment of bulls continues today, like the tradition of burning live bulls at some Spanish festivals. I have written to DEFRA to ask the government if they have been discussing this with the Spanish government.

Circus Animals – Update

In the last couple of AWRUs, I have covered the campaign to outlaw the use of animals in circuses. I wanted to give you a further update as many people have been asking about it. The previous Wild Animals in Circuses Bill failed to pass before the end of the last session of Parliament. However, a new version has been tabled in this Parliamentary session and will be debated on 24th February 2017 – a long way away, I know. You can keep track of the Bill’s progress here.

As you many know from my previous AWRUs and the government’s response to my letter, the government say they are committed to the purposes of this Bill, but will bring forward their own version in the next few years. It remains to be seen whether this will remain a commitment based on recent events – especially the change of Prime Minister. I will, along with other colleagues, continue to press the government on this until they fulfil the promises they set out over a year ago in their manifesto.

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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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