Yorkshire First : Stewart Arnold
Thank you for your interest in the policies of Yorkshire First. I have to say that as we are campaigning hard in the EP elections, it is not easy to find the time to give you a full and complete answer to your questions. However, if elected we would like to organise an early meeting with you and other members of your group in Yorkshire to discuss the matters you raise.
Our website gives fuller information on how we would approach all issues that are relevant to the regions people, environment and economy. Our aim is to represent those interests rather than toeing the 'party' line.
Green Party of England and Wales : Andrew Cooper
Response for all Green Party of England and Wales candidates supplied by Caroline Allen (here)
Labour Party : Linda McAvan
"Dear Ms Baker,
Thank you for your email on behalf of the Vegan Society.
You raise a wide range of questions on a number of issues. As an MEP working on climate change, the environment, sustainable fisheries, animal welfare and related issues I can tell you about what I have done as an MEP and what I hope to do if re-elected.
I and Labour MEPs have worked with our allies in the European Parliament to ensure that our energy is sustainable and we meet our commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change in an equitable way. We have pushed for a reform of the EU's carbon market (ETS) to ensure it gives sufficient incentives to switch to clean technologies, and are continuing to support ambitious and binding targets for emissions reduction, renewable energy and energy efficiency after 2020 and beyond.
In farming, I and Labour colleagues are committed to ensuring that Europe's agricultural policy works effectively and efficiently to deliver benefits not only for our farmers but also wider benefits for society and for the environment. CAP funds should be geared to the benefit of society at large, meeting the social, economic and environmental concerns facing rural communities. We would like to see an increased share of the agriculture budget going towards delivering environmental benefits. We also back the development of new technology to promote farm practices that minimise the agriculture industry's impact on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, water and air quality and the environment generally.
I have taken a particular interest in the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy in recent years, knowing that the CFP was in urgent need of reform to save Europe's fish stocks. This work, with the support of a number of organisations, has led to a bold reform that will introduce an obligation to land all catches, meaning the wasteful practice of discards will be banned and fishermen will be encouraged to fish more selectively. It will set quotas at scientifically-sustainable levels, known as maximum sustainable yield. Labour MEPs also supported more funding for data collection and control and enforcement rather than direct subsidies and if elected will work to ensure these reforms will be fully implemented in the coming period so that productive and healthy seas can become a reality.
Regarding neonicotinoids in particular, we have taken a strong view in support of targeted bans on neonicotinoids that have shown to seriously threaten the already fragile bee population. The only way we can have a real impact on saving collapsing bee colonies is by working together at EU level. We were disappointed that the UK government did not share this concern and opposed the ban introduced by the European Commission last year.
The EU law governing the protection of animals used for scientific purposes was revised in 2010, and I and Labour colleagues pushed for it to contain stronger provisions to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in scientific experiments. In the area of cosmetics, I have long argued for a complete ban on animal testing and am pleased that this came into effect last year, including for products imported into the European Union. I believe that using primates in scientific experiments can only be justified if there is no viable alternative and the experiment is vital for developing life-saving treatments for both humans and animals. I have also recently raised concerns on the treatment of primates imported into the UK for animal testing with the government minister responsible.
I have also been active concerned about broader animal welfare issues. This has involved supporting EU rules in a range of areas including animal testing, genetic cloning, live transportations, dairy production, bull fighting, shark finning and wildlife crime. I and Labour colleagues have played leading roles in the campaigns to strictly limit transportation times for live animals, to improve the welfare of farmed animals such as chickens and pigs, and to ban the import of seal products into the EU. I will support the introduction of a new EU framework law on animal welfare if elected in the next Parliament and will continue to actively work in this area to protect animals in Britain and across the EU.
I hope that gives you an idea of what I have worked on in many of the areas you are concerned with.
Thank you for your engagement, and I hope to work together to achieve many common aims if re-elected.