Animal Welfare

The caging of gamebirds

I am in favour of anything that will improve the welfare of animals, so this is a matter I have the utmost sympathy over. Although providing them with more space would be more ideal, the Defra commissioned research into gamebird rearing undertaken between 2010 and 2012 concluded that providing increased space for gamebirds, such as partridges and pheasants, does not necessarily equate with enhanced welfare. The Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC), was tasked with the consideration of all aspects of gamebird farming to lead into future work in this area. The outcome of this assessment was published in 2008 an can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/325047/FAWC_opinion_on_the_welfare_of_farmed_gamebirds.pdf

 

Food labelling

I am in favour of food labelling including the means of slaughter. Although the UK already has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, we are considering what more can be done in the context of our future agricultural policy. We will maintain our high regulatory baseline and look to raise standards sustainably over time as new research and evidence emerges. We are already acting to improve the welfare of livestock through, for example, making CCTV mandatory in slaughterhouses, increasing the maximum sentences for animal cruelty to five years, and working to restrict exports of live animals for slaughter once we leave the EU. We are working with sector groups, retailers, welfare organisations and the Farm Animal Welfare Committee to define a range of enhanced standards.

 

Trophy Hunting

In 2016, the then Minister for the Environment, Rory Stewart commissioned a study on lion conservation with respect to the issue of trophy hunting. Defra is currently looking carefully at trophy hunting imports to ensure that they do not impact on the sustainability of endangered species.

The UK will only issue an import permit if it is satisfied that the trophy has been legally acquired. The UK’s CITES Scientific Authority also makes a sustainability assessment, taking into consideration the views of the EU CITES Scientific Review Group (SRG), to confirm that the trade will not be detrimental to the conservation of the species concerned. Imports of hunting trophies of animals, such as African elephants and lions, from various countries have been assessed regularly at meetings of the SRG, most recently at its meeting in November 2017, where the decision to refuse imports of lion hunting trophies from Mozambique, (except from the Niassa reserve), was taken. Other countries from which imports of lion hunting trophies are no longer permitted include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Somalia.