2015 GENERAL ELECTION
MAJOR PARTY MANIFESTOS
Please do remember that this is party policies, but some individual candidates have their own animal welfare commitments so please do ask the candidates in your own region what they would do if elected. On balance SfA recommends supporters to vote for individual candidates on merit of their commitment to overhauling legislation to protect animals.
Please note nothing below is an endorsement, support nor recommendation to vote for any parties mentioned. Information is purely presented on the strength of animal welfare policy.
UKIP has by far the lengthiest and most detailed plans. They also focus on 2 subjects SFA is working on - CCTV in abattoirs and unstunned slaughter. If they would follow this up if elected though is anybody's guess.
The worst is Scottish Labour - they give no mention to animals.
Shockingly The Scottish Greens have the second worse manifesto for animals.
SNP policy is very vague. It claims as evidence of it's commitment to animal welfare how it has worked hard to “consider” better protection for animals at for example time of slaughter. No mention is given to what they actually stand for or will bring into law however.
Scottish Conservatives – The party specifically mentions that it will support slaughter without stunning and bloodsports.
We will support our fishing and coastal communities
We will defend our hard-won Common Fisheries Policy reforms, which include ending the scandalous practice of discarding perfectly edible fish and reforming the quota system so that all at-risk species will be fished sustainably by the end of the next Parliament. We will continue to devolve the management of North Sea fisheries to local communities, and rebalance the UK’s inland water quotas to smaller, specific locally-based fishing communities.
We will support countryside pursuits
We will protect countryside pursuits including fishing, for all the benefits to individuals, the environment and the rural economy that these activities bring. We will oppose the SNP's proposals to bring back rural sporting rates which could threaten hundreds of rural jobs.
We will protect animal welfare
The quality of the food on your plate, and the economic security of our farmers, depend on us upholding the highest standards of animal welfare. We will push for high animal welfare standards to be incorporated into international trade agreements and into reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. We will ban wild animals in circuses and press for all EU member states to ensure that animals are only sent to slaughterhouses that meet high welfare standards. We will encourage other countries to follow the EU’s lead in banning animal testing for cosmetics and work to accelerate the global development and take-up of alternatives to animal testing where appropriate. We want people to integrate fully into British society, but that does not mean they should have to give up the things they hold dear in their religion. So while we will always make sure the Food Standards Agency properly regulates the slaughter of livestock and poultry, we will protect methods of religious slaughter, such as shechita and halal.
We will tackle international wildlife trade
As hosts of the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, we helped secure the adoption of the London Declaration on Illegal Wildlife Trade and will continue to lead the world in stopping the poaching that kills thousands of rhinos, elephants and tigers each year. We will oppose any resumption of commercial whaling, and seek further measures at the EU and internationally to end shark-finning. We will promote effective worldwide measures for tuna conservation, press for a total ban on ivory sales, and support the Indian Government in its efforts to protect the Asian elephant. We will press for full ‘endangered species’ status for polar bears and a ban on the international trade in polar bear skins, as well as for greater attention to be paid to the impact of climate change on wildlife and habitats in Polar Regions in the Arctic Council and other international fora.
THE SCOTTISH GREENS
We will ensure our most important wildlife sites are given proper protection from development, encourage restoration of habitats that help us manage land and water sustainably
We will direct European funding for agriculture and fishing to support sustainable land management and long-term fish stock recovery.
SCOTTISH LABOUR PARTY
There is no mention of animals.
SCOTTISH LIBERAL DEMOCRATS
Liberal Democrats believe in the highest standards of animal welfare. We will review the rules surrounding the sale of pets to ensure they support responsible breeding and sales and minimise the use of animals in scientific experimentation, including by funding research into alternatives. We remain committed to the three Rs of humane animal research: Replace, Reduce, Refine.
Fully implement reforms of the Common Fisheries Policy, working with industry and others to develop a national plan for sustainable UK fisheries …
SNP SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY
Work to ensure the discard ban is workable for our fishing fleet
While responsibility for animal welfare is devolved to the Scottish Parliament –and the SNP in government is already working to improve the conditions of kept animals, including consultations on responsible dog ownership and wild animals in travelling circuses, and giving consideration to further protection at slaughter, the registration or licensing of horse establishments and a review of tail docking in working dogs - at Westminster we will support further animal welfare measures with a global focus. This includes action to end the illegal ivory trade and protect species such as polar bears and bluefin tuna.
We are engaging with the industry on our review of fish quota management. We want to ensure quotas are managed in the common interest, so that active fishermen have access to the quota that they need, rather than seeing them concentrated in the hands of those with the deepest pockets. We will continue to work to ensure the discard ban is implemented in a way that does not damage the viability of the fleet and is workable for our fishermen. Sensible implementation will deliver benefits for the fleet and consumers as we end the practice of dumping perfectly good fish back into the sea.
Food labelling will come back under the control of the Westminster Parliament when we leave the EU. Then we can insist animal products are labelled to show the country of origin, method of production and transport and whether the animal was stunned before slaughter, together with any information concerning hormones and GM products. We believe strongly that customers have the right to see this information.
Animal Health and Welfare
We can only regain control of animal health and welfare by leaving the EU. UKIP takes both issues seriously and we will:
• Triple the maximum jail sentences for animal cruelty and torture
• Impose lifetime bans on owning and/or looking after animals on any individual or company convicted of animal cruelty or torture
• Keep the ban on animal testing for cosmetics
• Challenge companies using animals for testing drugs or other medical treatments on the necessity for this form of testing, as opposed to the use of alternative technology
• Tightly regulate animal testing
• Ban the export of live animals for slaughter
• Insist on formal non-stun training and certification for all religious slaughtermen to ensure the highest standards are adhered to
• Install CCTV in every abattoir, monitored by the Meat Hygiene Service, and deal severely with any contraventions.
• Remove unnecessary EU restrictions that make small, local abattoirs unviable
We will also prepare for the possibility of disease outbreaks (including those) caused by imports. We cannot expect our farmers to bear the full brunt of any such outbreaks, but we will encourage them to introduce testing programmes and invest in insurance schemes to deal with potential outbreaks, as the poultry sector has done with the salmonella testing programme and associated insurance scheme.
Britain’s seas should be the jewel in her crown, but we surrendered these priceless family treasures when we joined the then EEC 1973 and our territorial waters were merged into one giant European fishery. The UK has almost 70 per cent of Europe’s fishing grounds but only 13 per cent percent of its fishing quota. So, we must import fish species such as cod, haddock and huss that our own fishermen are forced to throw overboard – usually dead - because of EU rules. The EU itself estimates 40 per cent of all fish caught are discarded, so as much as two million tons of perfectly edible fish are wasted every year. The EU’s proposed discard ban will not fix this problem, just move it onshore.
Worse, while preaching ‘conservation,’ the EU allows industrial fishing techniques such as electric pulse trawling, which destroys marine life and disturbs the ecological balance of our seascapes. We can only replenish Britain’s bounty of fish and restore our fishing industry if we leave the EU and withdraw from the CFP. Then we can:
• Establish a 12-mile zone around our coastline for UK fishermen and a 200-mile exclusive economic zone under UK control, as is our right under international law
• Reverse the rapid decline in our fishing industry and return £2.5 billion a year in fish sales to the UK
• Enforce ‘no-take’ zones to aid spawning and replenish fish stocks
• Protect our coastal eco system by ending destructive industrial fishing practices
• End the slaughter of dolphins by banning pair trawler fishing for bass
• Work with our fishermen to solve discard and landing issues
• Reverse any EU-wide drift-net ban in British waters
• Issue permits for foreign trawlers once fish stocks have returned to sustainable levels.
Fishing Boats Under 10 Metres
Smaller fishing boats make up the majority of the UK fleet but only receive only 4 per cent of the English quota, while the five largest foreign-controlled vessels take 32 per cent. It is grossly unfair and damages fish stock sustainability. Small-scale inshore fishing is the backbone of the UK fishing industry and we will end this injustice.
Over 750,000 people enjoy sea angling in the UK. It is a profitable hobby for Britain: VAT income from sea angling is worth more than the value of all commercial landings and some 23,000 jobs depend on sea angling, yet the EU is planning to restrict anglers to catching just three sea bass a day. We suspect this will eventually lead to EU controls on all angling and we will vociferously oppose this threat.