Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

Political animals

Posted: 23 January 2006

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The new year should see significant political activity in terms of animal protection – with a considerable number of animals affected. REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) will be finalised – EU proposals which as they stand will see additional unnecessary experiments on several million animals. The Animal Welfare Bill has received its first reading in Parliament. The review of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, together with a look at section 8.2 of EU CITES regulations have brought discussion on primates as pets. Signing of the Kinshasa Declaration, signals increased Government commitment towards the survival of the great apes. EU and UK parliamentarians are being faced with increasing calls for greater protection for all primate species as outlined in our My Mate’s a Primate campaign.

Consequently, these were all issues that appeared in a special party conference report (Political Animals 2005) produced this autumn. We took stands at the conferences of the Labour Party, Liberal Democrat, and Conservative conferences. Supporters will be aware that this is the first time that we have been allowed stand space at the Conservative conference for many years. We hope that this signals a new openness to animal protection issues from the Conservative Party.

In addition to Political Animals 2005, in depth briefings and reports on the issues were available at our stand. We also screened DVDs about vivisection, circuses, and the My Mate’s a Primate campaign.

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In October, Defra Minister Ben Bradshaw addressed a special meeting of the Associate Parliamentary Group Animal Welfare (APGAW) to unveil the Animal Welfare Bill. This was followed by a special reception in the House of Commons.

It is appropriate here to thank Ian Cawsey MP who in the summer stood down as Chair of APGAW. Ian has been a strong voice for animals in the Commons and has spoken at several of our meetings and events. He has now been promoted to the post of Assistant Government Whip, so can no longer be Chair of APGAW.

Ian has been succeeded by Eric Marthlew MP who we wish success in the role. Certainly Eric has indicated his commitment straight away, by co-signing an Early Day Motion with Norman Baker MP and Anne Widdicombe MP calling for a ban on wild animals from circuses.

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