The cause of animal welfare has been well served by the Labour government and by the untiring efforts of Labour backbenchers over the past decade.
I’m proud to be able to say that I had a 100 per cent voting record on the Bill outlawing hunting with Dogs. Support for the Bill was brilliantly marshalled by my dear friend Tony Banks, whose death just over a year ago was such a huge loss to the Animal Welfare world and to the Labour movement in general.
As Tony would be telling us we have the legislation but we now need to focus on proper enforcement. The police must find the resources to enforce the law. We also need to consider other cruel activities. For instance, although hunting is banned snaring is still allowed. Certain kinds of snares are crueler than others and it is clear than many animals are just left to die in agony.
Another important achievement for our Government was to ban fur farming.
Then, of course there is the landmark Government measure, the Animal Welfare Act 2007, which placed a duty of care on owners of pets. This is something the Government and animal welfare campaigners who worked so hard to bring it about can be really proud of.
The Animal Welfare Act gives us the opportunity for the banning of wild animals in circuses.
I have always fully supported Labour Councillors who have brought in bans in their areas.
I know there is a great deal of work still to be done on the animal welfare agenda – including the campaign against the appalling slaughter of seals in the Canadian Arctic and, nearer home, the use of shock collars on dogs.
It’s only Labour that can ensure that animal welfare is put at the centre of the government’s agenda.
My colleagues in Parliament who are spearheading these campaigns know they will be able to rely on my support as Deputy Leader.