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Vicky Foxcroft MP

Member of Parliament for Lewisham Deptford

Animal Welfare

Last week I joined Dogs Trust, for its House of Commons reception, where the charity asked MPs for their support in the fight against Puppy Smuggling.

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Dogs Trust and Puppy Smuggling

Last week I joined Dogs Trust, for its House of Commons reception, where the charity asked MPs for their support in the fight against Puppy Smuggling.   Read more

This week I joined more than 60 MPs and peers at Cats Protection's Christmas parliamentary reception to celebrate the charity’s work speaking up for cats.  

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Speaking up for cats

This week I joined more than 60 MPs and peers at Cats Protection's Christmas parliamentary reception to celebrate the charity’s work speaking up for cats.   Read more

Thank you to everyone who has emailed asking me to commit to supporting the continued legal recognition of animal sentience.

The Labour Party has a strong record on animal rights and we are not about to change that now. We have a moral duty to treat the animals we share our planet with in a humane and compassionate way and Brexit must not lead to any watering down of existing standards on animal welfare.

As many of you know, Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union protects the legal status of animals as sentient beings. In its current form, the Draft European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will not ensure its preservation in UK law.

Last week (November 15th) I voted in favour of New Clause 30 which sought to amend the bill and retain the rights and obligations contained in Article 13. I also support Amendment 350, which has been tabled by the Official Opposition and will be debated over the coming weeks. This amendment would similarly ensure that the Government is held to the animal welfare standards enshrined in Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. 

Unfortunately, when New Clause 30 was pressed to a vote it was rejected by the Government and defeated. The Minister argued that animals are already recognised as sentient beings under domestic law and that this will continue to be the case. The Government has since said that it will ensure any necessary changes required to UK law are made to ensure animal sentience is recognised after we leave the EU. 

I believe this is inadequate and that the Government should reverse its decision and amend the Repeal Bill without further delay. I will therefore support Amendment 350 if it is pushed to a vote during the Bill's remaining stages.

I also intend to support amendments that aim to ensure there is no weakening of EU-derived rights - including on animal welfare standards - because of Brexit; and I can assure you that I will continue to press for existing standards on animal welfare to be transposed into British law and strengthened where necessary.

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Animal Sentience & Brexit

Thank you to everyone who has emailed asking me to commit to supporting the continued legal recognition of animal sentience. The Labour Party has a strong record on animal rights...

A number of constituents have been in touch with me recently with concerns over the illegal trapping of migrating birds on Ministry of Defence (MOD) sites in Cyprus.

As noted by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), around 800,000 songbirds are trapped and killed in the UK Sovereign Base Area (SBA) of Dhekelia every autumn - many of which are from rare and declining species. I agree this is an alarming issue.

A petition in spring 2017 calling on the MOD to stop this illegal slaughter received over 24,000 signatures. Responding to the petition, the Government stated that the SBA authorities were taking a number of actions to tackle bird trapping in the area, including pursuing over 80 convictions for poaching offences, and conducting major operations to clear the netting used by trappers. These operations have led to the seizure of over 1,000 mist-nets and more than 450 limesticks – twigs coated with glue to trap birds – as well as other trapping equipment.

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The Government further stated that despite hostility from elements in the local community, the SBA authorities will continue with efforts to remove the invasive acacia bushes that trappers on the island have used to attract and catch birds. I note, for example, that in recent months, operations from the SBA have successfully destroyed over 3 kilometres of irrigation equipment used to grow acacia in the SBA.

Nevertheless, I appreciate the calls that the RSPB and others have made for the UK Government to meet its responsibilities on UK territory and stop the illegal slaughter of wild birds. 

 

Illegal Bird Trapping in Cyprus

A number of constituents have been in touch with me recently with concerns over the illegal trapping of migrating birds on Ministry of Defence (MOD) sites in Cyprus. As noted...

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Puppy Smuggling

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Thank you to everyone who has contacted me both before and after the general election to raise their concerns about sentencing for animal cruelty. I am aware that several organisations, including the League Against Cruel Sports and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, have expressed concern that sentences they do not always appear to match the abuse suffered by the animals, especially in the case of extreme cruelty such as dog fighting. I agree that any sentences given by the courts must reflect the seriousness of these crimes. It is important that we send out a strong and powerful message that animal cruelty must stop.

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The Government is yet to make any significant changes in this area and recently stated that it has no plans to introduce an animal abusers register. I believe that ministers should consider increasing magistrates’ sentencing powers and ensuring that the most serious cases of animal abuse are heard at the Crown Court. Any review should consider the prevalence of these offences and whether the current sentencing guidance is being applied properly.

As many of you will know, two Private Members’ Bills were introduced during the last Parliament with the aim of increasing the maximum sentences available for the offences of animal fighting and animal cruelty. The Animal Fighting (Sentencing) Bill and the Animal Cruelty (Sentencing) Bill were scheduled to have their Second Reading debates on Friday 24th February 2017, but this was objected to in both cases. The bills were relisted for 24th March but they were very low on the order paper and unfortunately therefore had no chance of being debated.

I would like to reassure my constituents that my Labour Party colleagues and I support efforts to increase sentences for those convicted of animal abuse and will continue to press for clear and enforceable penalties against anyone who commits animal cruelty offences. 

Animal Cruelty Sentencing

Thank you to everyone who has contacted me both before and after the general election to raise their concerns about sentencing for animal cruelty. I am aware that several organisations,...

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I know that many of my constituents are keen supporters of animal welfare campaigns and recently I have received a large number of emails calling for a ban on fur imports.

I welcomed the ban on fur farming in the UK and the last Labour Government’s 2006 Animal Welfare Act which put into law the most fundamental piece of animal welfare legislation for nearly a century. The act set legal minimum standards for animal welfare and tougher penalties for cruelty against animals. It also introduced a new duty of care on people to ensure the needs of any animal for which they are responsible, and made it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal.

Fur Imports

I know that many of my constituents are keen supporters of animal welfare campaigns and recently I have received a large number of emails calling for a ban on fur... Read more

On Monday 6th February a Westminster Hall debate was held to discuss the domestic ivory trade. Ahead of the debate a number of constituents got in touch to ask me to attend. Unfortunately I was not able to be there due to other parliamentary commitments but I support a total ban on the trade.

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UK Domestic Ivory Trade - *Updated 01/03/17*

On Monday 6th February a Westminster Hall debate was held to discuss the domestic ivory trade. Ahead of the debate a number of constituents got in touch to ask me... Read more

On Monday 14th November last year and in response to a petition with over 100, 000 signatures, there was a Westminster Hall debate on giving status to Police Dogs and Police Horses as Police Officers, in order to enshrine the rights of these brave animals in law.

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Finn's Law campaign: Legal Protections for Police Animals

On Monday 14th November last year and in response to a petition with over 100, 000 signatures, there was a Westminster Hall debate on giving status to Police Dogs and... Read more

As some of you may know, on November 29th there was a parliamentary debate on CCTV in equine slaughterhouses. Unfortunately I was not able to attend, but as I have received emails from constituents asking for my views I would like to share them with you here.

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CCTV in Equine Slaughterhouses *Updated 18/01/17*

As some of you may know, on November 29th there was a parliamentary debate on CCTV in equine slaughterhouses. Unfortunately I was not able to attend, but as I have... Read more

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