As is to be expected the manifesto of the Green Party provides the most progressive and comprehensive platform of animal welfare issues. Here is the section, “Taking Animal Protection Seriously,” in full.
We share the world with other animals and are not entitled to ill-treat or exploit them. Accordingly we would:
- Phase out all forms of factory farming of animals and enforce strict animal welfare standards generally, including in organic agriculture.
- Ensure that the European ban on seal imports is implemented fully; ban the import of real fur products, but ensure that real fur is clearly labelled until a ban is in place; press the EU to ban fur factory farming; bring in non-lethal alternatives to shooting seals at fish farms.
- Maintain the ban on hunting with dogs and extend to other blood sports, including the use of snares, and oppose badger culling.
- Immediately ban causing harm to animals (including but not only primates) in research, testing and education, and invest in the development of alternatives to animal experiments.
- End live animal exports and limit journey times for all animal transport.
- Implement a full ban on the production and sale of eggs produced from hens kept in battery cages (including ‘enriched’ cages).
- Protect biodiversity and human and animal health. We will always adopt the ‘precautionary principle’ with regard to any alleged benefits of new technologies such as genetic modification, cloning, xenotransplantation and nanotechnology.
- Regulate the companion animal trade including a ban on the import of so-called ‘exotic pets’.
There is also a very good section on the environmental impact of factory farming and even a call to reduce the consumption of meat and dairy!
Intensive livestock farming is a major contributor to greenhouse gases through the production of methane. We will work to measure and reduce the impact of our meat and dairy consumption, while recognising that traditional rotational grazing has potential for storing carbon in the soil.
The Green Party is to be applauded for its visionary and authentic “joining up of the dots” public policy, which understands animal welfare as an integral component and not as some fringe issue to be dismissed with token gestures. I could, if I wanted to, nitpick some of the objectives. For example, I’m not sure how you would ban harm to animals in research other than by ending all experimentation but I doubt that this is what they mean. Nonetheless, the Green Party’s animal welfare manifesto commitment is a breath of fresh after holding my head in my hands from reading the nonsense the other parties published.
But, as we all know, the Green Party is a fringe political party. On May 7, however, we may live in a new world in which the next Parliament may include a Green Party MP. Caroline Lucas MEP, the Green Party’s Leader, is standing for election in the Brighton Pavilion constituency. There is speculation that she may even get elected in what’s been described as a “three-way marginal.”