As 2018 begins, let us celebrate that there has been a sea change in British politics in connection to all matters relating to animal welfare policy.
Under the guidance of the Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove, and the Prime Minister, Theresa May, the emphasis being placed on animal welfare is hugely welcome.
The past few months have seen significant advances in animal welfare policy, with announcements for increased sentencing for animal cruelty, the introduction of mandatory CCTV in all slaughter houses, the ban on the UK ivory sales trade, banned micro-beads to protect marine life, enshrined animal sentience in UK law, tougher restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids , the Blue Belt extended to protect rare sea birds, the introduction of beavers and the crackdown to protect puppies from unscrupulous breeders and plans to restrict and maybe end live animal exports for slaughter.
The most heartening political policy shift was that reported in the Times Newspaper in December , that the government and the Conservative Party leadership are going to ditch the free vote on the repeal of the Hunting Act as a Conservative Party policy.
Let there be no misunderstanding, hunting with dogs is a past time from the last century. There will always be those dinosaurs of politicians and hunting lobbyists who want to look backwards, yet the Conservative Party under the guidance of Theresa May and Michael Gove are looking forward to the 21st century and to 21st century society policies to advance animal welfare.
We have had a trickle of comment and articles posted and printed over recent days as the hunting lobby look to make themselves relevant and portray themselves as the victims of people haters. They argue the anti hunting movement is about hating people who hunt ; yet this is absurd – the anti hunt lobby are committed to protecting wildlife from the cruel activity of chasing a wild animal to death with dogs for sport.
Pro hunt MPs claim that the repeal issue makes no difference to voting intentions. They argue it’s not Conservative to oppose fox hunting despite the latest Ipsos MORI poll showing 85% of people oppose Fox Hunting and of those intending to vote Conservative- 75 % oppose any repeal of the ban on Fox Hunting.
Their last ditch scrambling around for justification of their brutal activity often leads to contradictory statements. A couple of pro hunt MPs and spokespersons desperately went to the press between Christmas and New Year claiming the repeal vote does not put off voters, however, in the hunting lobby’s own Baileys Hunting Directory Editorial of June 9th 2017 , titled ‘The Oncoming Train’ they argued the opposite: they observed that two things got the students engaged and ‘’the second was the anti-hunt message’’.
The Hunting Act is here to stay. The arguments have been won by the dedicated anti hunting Conservative MPs inside the Conservative Party and by those campaigning outside parliament.