The Labour Party recognises the rights of all animals in their new manifesto which calls for equal punishment for all animal cruelty and supports a move away from intensive animal farming.
The manifesto includes companion, farmed and wild animals and states that animal sentience is at the forefront of their policy.
Within the 40 point manifesto, Labour sets out a ban on cages in UK farming, a phasing out of farrowing crates, a ban on live exports for slaughter and fattening, a ban of electric pulse fishing, a ban on all fur imports and says they will end the badger cull and strengthen the Hunting Act.
This is a massive step forward for animal rights, as previously companion animals such as cats and dogs have been highly protected by the law while animal cruelty to wild and farmed animals has gone unchecked.
An end to speciesism
Under the new manifesto, farmed animals will be recognised as sentient beings with the same mental capacities as companion animals – a fact that is far too often overlooked in Britain and across the world.
This change in thinking would raise the moral benchmark for the treatment of farmed and wild animals, and is likely to make more people think about the cruelty farmed animals are subjected to on a daily basis.
After all, if you wouldn’t kill your cat or dog, why is it acceptable to slaughter a pig or cow for food?
The Labour Party noted that animal welfare in UK farms often falls below acceptable standards, and commits to extensively researching the impact intensive farming is having on the environment.
“We have an obligation to ensure that best practice is adopted right across the board and that outdated and cruel practices are no longer acceptable and are phased out. Several high-profile instances that have been exposed through CCTV have revealed poor practices and have raised questions about culture and procedures in some slaughterhouses”, the Labour Party declare in their manifesto.
“Labour supports a move away from highly intensive, environmentally damaging farming methods and is committed to promoting best practice in cruelty-free animal husbandry and to ensuring better enforcement of agreed standards. Labour will seek to end the ‘cage age’ of outdated farming practices that cause animals distress and restrict natural behaviour.”
Tackling the environmental impact
This would be the first time animal agriculture is noted as a driver of environmental damage in British politics and would allow for the world’s second largest polluter to finally be tackled as a leading cause of climate change.
The UK is currently respected as a thought-leader, so a leading political party to be calling for the end of speciesism and recognising the environmental damage caused by animal farming could see huge knock-on effects for animal rights across the world.
We are running out of time to drastically lower emissions, and farmed animals have been subjected to the cruel system for long enough. It’s time for a change in thinking - and the Labour Party’s Animal Welfare Manifesto represents this change.