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Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is startled by Cody the Dachshund

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is startled by Cody the Dachshund during a campaign event outside the James Paget Hospital on May, 13, 2017 in Great Yarmouth, England. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Corbyn's Labour Party Unveils Plan to Make UK 'World Leader on Animal Welfare'

"No animal should be treated cruelly or made to suffer unnecessary pain."

Jessica Corbett

Animal welfare advocates are celebrating a new detailed plan unveiled Wednesday by Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party in the UK that aims to improve the lives of domesticated pets, laboratory and farm animals, and those in the wild.

"We wholeheartedly welcome the proposals in the animal welfare strategy announced today by Labour. These are developments for which we have campaigned tirelessly for years," said Michelle Thew, CEO of Cruelty Free International. "It shows great progress that one of the major political parties is now committed to a positive plan for ending the suffering of animals in laboratories."

"We particularly welcome commitments to stop live exports, empower consumers with mandatory meat labeling, stop routine preventative use of antibiotics, and use post-Brexit subsidies to move away from intensive factory farming and bad environmental practices," said Emma Slawinski, director of campaigns at Compassion in World Farming. "This could be the beginning of the end of cruel factory farming."

"No animal should be treated cruelly or made to suffer unnecessary pain," tweeted Corbyn, adding that the goal of the plan is to "make the UK a world leader on animal welfare." 

"The 50-point plan would be a comprehensive new approach to animal welfare if Labour came to power," The Guardian notes. "The proposals are in part a response to the Brexit negotiations, which Labour fears could lead to lower standards in food production, and to recent revelations on the conditions inside UK slaughterhouses and the expansion of the badger cull."

The Party shared a video that introduces the plan to the public and solicits feedback from constituents.

In addition to calling for the appointment of an Animal Welfare Commissioner, who would monitor pending legislation and foreign negotiations that would impact animals as well as stay updated on scientific research on animal welfare, the platform calls for:

  • strengthening animal welfare laws to include decapod crustaceans and cephalopods, increase punishments for those convicted of animal cruelty, and revise Government Buying Standards;
  • improving the lives of domestic pets by expanding access to veterinary care, cracking down on puppy smuggling, banning shock collars, and establishing a full-time, independent zoo inspectorate;
  • crafting new legislation to address troubling agricultural practices such as factory farming and overuse of antibiotics on livestock;
  • implementing new protections for wild animals by enhancing the Hunting Act, banning circus animals and fur imports, and increasing penalties for criminal behavior such as illegal hunting;
  • enhancing rules on animals in sports, particularly with regard to greyhound dogs used for racing; and
  • revising standards on animal testing as well as exploring research methods that do not involve animals.

Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman, who appeared in the party's video, headed to a hospital run by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) for the plan's launch on Wednesday.

Others members of the party and advocates for animal welfare expressed their support for the plan on social media.

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