The Labour Animal Welfare Society has undertaken fantastic work in promoting animal rights since its inception almost thirty years ago, so it is my pleasure to be able to outline my views on these important issues.
Labour Party members can be proud of the record of the last Labour government on improving animal welfare in the United Kingdom. Hunting with dogs was banned both by the UK Labour government in England and Wales, and the Scottish Labour-led executive in Holyrood, outlawing the practice across Britain.
Far too often in recent years, Labour politicians have dismissed the achievements of the 1997-2010 government. On animal welfare, as on so many other issues, we should stand up for the great things that government achieved.
But while we shouldn’t ignore our past victories, we must also look to the future, offering a prospectus to the country that shows we have listened, and we are willing to be a credible alternative government.
As many of your members will likely already know, EU law recognises animals as sentient beings. I strongly support recognising the same principle in domestic law. Indeed, I was sorry that a petition, signed by over 100,000 people, was unable to be debated in the House of Commons in September, because of Boris Johnson’s illegal prorogation of parliament.
Animal welfare is a devolved issue in Scotland and I have long called on the Scottish government to update the Scottish codes of practice on farm animals.
I believe we must seek to end this ‘cage age’ of outdated farming practices that cause animals distress and restrict natural behaviours. I am committed to promoting best practice in cruelty-free animal husbandry, and support ending the use of cages on British farms by 2025.
I have also spent time in my own area with the SSPCA, the Scottish equivalent of the RSPCA in England and Wales. It was eye opening to follow their team around on animal rescues, seeing the harrowing conditions some animals are forced to live in.
We must continue to support the fantastic work of both the RSPCA and SSPCA, as well as other animal welfare organisations.
However, the sad reality of our current predicament is an 80 seat Tory majority. Our animal welfare manifesto at the last election had great policies within it, but none of those will be delivered.
In order to deliver a government that improves animal welfare in this country, we have to win a general election.
That is why I am running to be Deputy Leader. I was devastated at 10pm on election night. Devastated for our party, but even more so for the people and animals that need a Labour government.
I am not a continuity candidate in this election. I am the change candidate. I believe that we have to listen to what the public told us last month, and change to win.
Please do not hesitate to come back to me should you require any further information.
Ian Murray MP