UK Candidates speak on vegan and animal issues

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» UK Candidates speak on vegan and animal issues

Staff member Andrea Speranza uncovers the key animal-related policies pledged by parties ahead of the UK General Election 2015.

We are now just days away from the UK General Election 2015. For the past weeks and months, we’ve been bombarded by promises from candidates about how everything could change for the better if we vote for them.

It can be hard to see where each party positions themselves on the topics we care about. So let’s take a closer look to see exactly what their manifesto pledges are, and where MP candidates stand on vegan issues.

The Animal Welfare Party

The AWP "believes in a better future for people, animals and the environment." Their key policies include "redirecting subsidies from livestock and fisheries to plant-based agriculture" and "promoting healthy plant-based lifestyle initiatives in schools, GP practices and the workplace."

Alongside this, the AWP pledge to work towards "phasing out animal experimentation with binding targets for reduction and funding and support for alternatives."

They also promise to phase out "farming practices with poor welfare consequences for animals" and to increase penalties for those convicted of animal cruelty. They will scrap The Badger Cull.

'The Lobbying Act’ has had a chilling effect on how charities such as The Vegan Society can campaign politically; The Animal Welfare Party support a strong voice for charities in politics.

The Conservative Party

The Conservatives pledge to ban wild animals in circuses and to "put pressure" on other countries to follow the EU’s lead in prohibiting the testing of animals for cosmetics. They also promise to work to speed up the global development of "alternatives to animal testing where appropriate".

Other Conservative pledges include putting on pressure to claim full endangered species status for polar bears, as well as a ban on the international trade in polar bear skins.

The Conservatives would repeal the Hunting Act, despite the 80% of the British public who want the ban on hunting with dogs to stay in place. They will also roll out the widely unpopular Badger Cull across Britain. The Conservative Party do not mention The Lobbying Act in their Manifesto.

The Green Party of England and Wales

The Greens pledge to bring an end to factory farming.  They also promise mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses. Their manifesto also mentions sustainable farming methods, including stock-free (vegan) farming.

The Greens propose to ban snares, and call for a review of greyhound racing. The Greens will also abolish The Lobbying Act and scrap The Badger Cull.

The Labour Party

Labour have made a promise to build on a "strong record on animal welfare." They pledge to end the "ineffective and inhumane badger culls", and instead "develop a better plan for eradicating Bovine TB."

Labour also promise a ban on wild animals in circuses. They pledge to improve the protection of dogs and cats, and to review regulations on the sale and breeding of these animals. What is not clear is whether this protection also extends to dog fighting and racing greyhounds. 

Labour pledge to protect The Hunting Act, which bans the hunting of wild mammals with dogs. Labour also pledge to abolish The Lobbying Act, which allows charities to lobby more effectively.

The Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dems promise to "minimise" the use of animals in scientific experimentation, making a manifesto promise to fund research into alternatives.

They also intend to improve the welfare of animals in farming by reviewing the use of crates and cages. They also commit to review the rules relating to the breeding and sale of ‘pets’.

The Lib Dems do not pledge any support to The Hunting Act and are supportive of further roll-outs of The Badger Cull. The Lib Dems plan to review The Lobbying Act.

Plaid Cymru  

Plaid Cymru intends to "accelerate actions to reduce bureaucracy and red tape within the farming industry." They wish to "support and safeguard sustainable sea fishing and seafood production."

Plaid Cymru states that they will "support the introduction of a European-level Animal Welfare Commissioner and adoption at all government levels of the new and comprehensive Animal Welfare law to end animal cruelty."

The Scottish National Party

The SNP says that they are "already working to improve the conditions of kept animals." This includes consultations on responsible dog ‘ownership’, and the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. As well as this, they claim to be "giving consideration to further protection at slaughter, the registration or licensing of horse establishments, and a review of tail docking in working dogs."

The SNP state that they will "support further animal welfare measures with a global focus", including actions to end the ivory trade and protect endangered species. 

The SNP has also promised to "scrutinise UK government actions at an EU level to ensure that our farming and fishing industries receive full backing and support."

The UK Independence Party

UKIP pledge to triple maximum jail sentences for animal cruelty. They wish to keep the ban on animal testing for cosmetics, and to further regulate animal testing.

They also promise to ban the export of live animals for slaughter and install CCTV in every abattoir. UKIP have not pledged any support for The Hunting Act and have a strong pro-animal agriculture stance. UKIP also promise to clamp down on "fake charities" and "state-funded political activism." They do not mention The Badger Cull in their manifesto.


There is still time for all of us to raise these important issues with our local candidates. Let’s make the most of the next few days, and not miss a single chance to tell them what we want. If you'd like to know more about how to lobby your MPs in these vital few days and afterwards, check out our Tip Sheet and our information page, here.

By Andrea Speranza, Senior Campaigner at The Vegan Society.

The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.

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