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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Will foxes and badgers feel the love?

According to today's Independent animal campaigners believe that this week's dramatic vote to outlaw the use of wild creatures in circuses could prove a turning-point in the drive to combat animal cruelty.

They believe that the changing attitude of young politicians towards the treatment of animals could scupper moves to repeal the ban on fox-hunting and to press ahead with a widespread badger cull:

It had been widely assumed that the influx of large numbers of Conservative MPs at the last election would tip the balance against animal welfare issues. But a succession of recently elected Tories intervened during Thursday's impassioned debate to support an outright ban and to condemn the conditions endured by circus animals.

The main backbencher to speak out against the move, the Tory Andrew Rosindell, was jeered by MPs of all parties, including his own, as he declared animals in circuses suffered "almost no cruelty" and urged ministers against "pandering to the emotions of animal rights activists".

So overwhelming was the mood in the Commons that the Government was forced to abandon efforts to force MPs to support its alternative proposal to license circuses. Backbenchers are also determined to return to the subject if ministers prevaricate on implementing a ban.

The attitude of the Commons on circus animals has implications for the Government which must soon decide whether to implement plans to combat rising levels of TB in cattle by culling badgers. Ministers have been agonising since September over whether to authorise a cull, and admit there is a "question-mark" over whether it will happen.

Part of the reason for the dithering by the Government appears to be the risk of widespread protests – backed by MPs – over the mass slaughter of animals. Polls suggest that only one in six of the public supports a cull. The Labour MP Paul Flynn, a long-term supporter of animal rights, said the circus vote was a "deeply significant" moment despite being a relatively narrow issue.

One Tory MP puts her finger on the change in attitude: Tracey Crouch, the Tory MP for Chatham, who was elected last year, said the increase in Conservatives opposed to fox-hunting reflected the rising numbers representing urban areas. She added: "Animal welfare is incredibly important to the general public. More people give money to animal welfare organisations or join them than join political parties or even vote. Clearly we are a nation of animal lovers and I think politicians are reflecting that."

What is interesting is how this is better reflected amongst Conservative members in the House of Commons than those in the Welsh Assembly. Considering that the Assembly is meant to be closer to the people and better in touch with the public mood, the gung ho attitude of some AMs, particularly in the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru, is really quite puzzling.

At least last week's statement on the badger cull showed that we now have a substantial number of AMs who are starting to understand the mood of their constituents with regards to animal welfare issues.
Couldn't agree more - most AMs do not reflect the views of the public they represent.

The environmentalists and those supporting better animal welfare are being well supported by the latest batch of Conservatives at Westminster including Zac Goldsmith in particular.
I understand that the majority of Labour AMs were opposed to a badger kill and I only assume that 'horse trading' took place between them and Plaid, and most Labour AMs ignored conscience and voted for the badger kill. So much for principles! To their credit,at the earliest opportunity, we now have a rethink.

Just one final comment, better coming from a friend than foe. I believe the leader of the Welsh Lib Dems hasn't welcomed the Independent Inquiry either or is certainly robustly questioning Labour on its change of heart.
Zac Goldsmith and Mark Pritchard both support the barbarity of hunting with dogs so I am afarid their credentials as champions of compassionate politics are very much dented.
Thanks Chris. I was unaware of Zac Goldsmith's support for hunting.
However I don't think that he can be faulted on his views on other major concerns such as Animal experimentation, Farm Animal Welfare, Fur, Seals, Whaling, Wildlife. For me on these issues he ticks all the boxes.
I only mentioned Zac Goldsmith as I have seen correspondence where Goldsmith has argued the case for better animal welfare in particular regarding mega factory farming and has successfully canvassed support from other MPs and over this issue and others I was most impressed.
I cannot comment on Mark Pritchard but suggest we work on them both regards hunting.
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