A significant focus on Animal Welfare in Parliament

It is interesting to observe how some of our local MPs participate within Parliament from time to time. The Sussex MPs who are Ministers are involved in activities that are set out by the Government and that they organise for their departments. However, the other MPs often focus on themes that they are personally interested in or that reflect from their constituents. Last week one Sussex MP who was significant was Henry Smith, the Crawley MP who set up a debate entitled “Government support for animal welfare in overseas tourism”. The discussion took place at the end of Tuesday and along with Henry five other MPs who took part. Three of them are not members of his Conservative Party and they were a Labour MP from Bristol, an SNP MP and an ex-SNP MP who is now Independent. The other two contributors were the MP for Guildford so relatively close to Crawley and a Minister. Interestingly all of them apart from Henry were female MPs which is very significant, let us hope that some other Sussex MPs will contribute to this theme in the future.  

It is worth reviewing our current Sussex MPs who have raised this theme in the past. Several Ministers do speak about Animals in response to questions from MPs or statements that they make. However, when they have not been Ministers there are very few cases. Henry spoke on Tuesday and Wednesday on the theme of Animals and indeed he also mentioned the subject three times earlier this year and 21 times last year along with 55 times from 2010 to 2021. Caroline Lucas from Brighton Pavilion spoke about it 12 times last year and 98 times from 2010 to 2021. Lloyd Russell-Moyle from Brighton Pavilion raised the subject three times last year but not before that time. Most of the other MPs have only mentioned the word once or twice or not at all throughout their time as MPs. There are two others who are both from Worthing who have focused on it in the past. Peter Bottomley mentioned it once in 2019 and twice in 2011 and then 11 times between 1983 to 2001. Tim Loughton raised it once in 2021 and once in 2019 and then 34 times from 1997 to 2005. Clearly the extent to which Parliament focuses on Animals is important so along with Peter and Tim in the past, our current Sussex MPs are Henry and Caroline who speak about it regularly.

Last Tuesday Henry started with

I am grateful to have secured this debate, which allows me to raise the important issue of animal welfare in overseas tourism. I wish to put it on record that I am proud that the UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world.

Soon afterwards Margaret Ferrier a Scotland Independent stated “Supporters of hunting holidays” and at the end she said “Will the hon. Member share his thoughts on what Ministers can do to tackle misinformation in this space?” and Henry started off with “I am grateful for that intervention from the hon. Lady, who is a steady campaigner for animal welfare issues, and I always appreciate her support.”

A little later Kerry McCarthy from Labour started with “It is good that the hon. Gentleman has brought up such an important issue.” She focused on the issues of Thailand and called on “the Government may have a role to play in having words with the Thai authorities about cracking down on that sort of activity, which does not give a good impression of the country at all?” Henry responded initially with “I am delighted to be intervened on by the hon. Lady, who also has a long record of standing up for animal welfare issues in this House.”

He also mentioned the Guildford MP with “I congratulate my hon. Friend Angela Richardson on her Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill, intended to prohibit the sale and advertising of activities abroad that involve low standards of welfare for animals.”

The next person was Lisa Cameron from SNP who said “The hon. Gentleman is making a fantastic speech, and I am sure many people across the United Kingdom agree that we must address these important matters.”

Then Angela Richardson began with “I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this important debate and on the incredibly powerful speech he is making. I am sure that everybody listening tonight cannot help but be moved by the plight of the animals he is talking about.”

A final statement came from Rebecca Pow, the Minister. She began with “I am particularly grateful to my hon. Friend Henry Smith for securing this debate” and later on she stated “I wish my hon. Friend well with his Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill.”

These aspects are very positive elements.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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