Saturday, 13 May 2017

General Election 2017: Reply to Concerns on Animal Welfare and Fox Hunting

Thank you for your recent email on animal welfare. 

The Scottish Liberal Democrats are strong supporters of animal welfare and will continue to protect wildlife, pets and farm animals in the next parliament.

Up to 2015, Liberal Democrats at Westminster were able to make significant progress on improving animal welfare. Many of these achievements affect the whole of the UK, including the ending of housing hens in battery cages and tackling the smuggling and illegal trade of wildlife through the Border Force.  Previously, I have visited livestock farms in the Pentland Hills and seen best practice at work.  I know that animals can be both treated well and see farmers with a fair deal.

Wildlife crime remains a significant problem and I am pleased that, as part of the Coalition government, Liberal Democrats made the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) one of its wildlife crime priorities. However, further action is needed to ensure that penalties are properly applied and prosecutions, where necessary, are carried out. 

On your particular point on fox hunting, this is a retrograde step by Thesesa May’s Conservatives. I would have no problem supporting the views on the constituents of Edinburgh North and Leith in blocking the reintroduction of fox hunting from Westminster.  As an MP however and owing to the nature of devolution, I would have little power over Scottish legislation and therefore I suggest a direct approach to current SNP minister responsible, Roseanna Cunningham, at Holyrood.

In general though, I am willing to work across party lines to deliver improved conditions for all animals in the United Kingdom, whether they are domesticated or wild.

Kind regards,

Martin Veart
Edinburgh North and Leith
Scottish Liberal Democrats

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