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.
I would like to see animal welfare standards improve overseas as well as in the UK. National governments have a duty to work together to fight animal cruelty across the world and I therefore hope that we can continue to work with our neighbours across Europe to continue to raise welfare standards. For example, Denmark – the world’s largest mink fur producer – is currently in the process of phasing out fur farming, and the Netherlands has recently banned the farming of foxes and chinchillas, so it seems clear to me that other countries find the practice abhorrent too.
The Government has said that current arrangements for our environment will remain in place until we leave the EU, but I am concerned that many environmental protections are at risk. I believe the Government needs to set out its strategy for the future and whether it remains committed to the current, hard-won, animal welfare and environmental protections and what more they will do to show leadership in this area.