Animal Welfare

I have consistently called for stronger laws against those who cause animals pain and inflict suffering needlessly. In June 2015 I was named Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare and I have highlighted the need for greater protections throughout my nine and a half years in the House of Commons.

In 2015 I led a Commons debate on the importance of CCTV in UK slaughterhouses; this is an issue I have pursued in Parliament and was delighted when the Government adopted this as law.

I have additionally called for the end of live exports of animals for slaughter, and welcome the Government’s action to launch a call for evidence on this important animal welfare issue.

More recently we have also seen action on increasing sentences for animal cruelty tenfold to five years, banning of back street puppy breeders, ending the third party sales of puppies, and publishing updated animal welfare codes.

In June 2018, I was pleased to lead a House of Commons debate calling for a ban on imports of foie gras; a ‘product’ derived from fatty livers of ducks or geese after they have been force-fed maize repeatedly, by having a metal tube inserted down their throats two or three times a day.

While domestic production of foie gras is thankfully banned in this country, the importing of it is still allowed – a double standard we need to put right. After leaving the EU’s single market, Britain will be able to make the decision to ban imports of this so-called delicacy. I urge the Government to take this action in line with the progress we have seen in recent years in the area of animal rights.

I have also served on the Public Bill Committee of the Government’s Ivory Bill. This legislation will help protect the approximate 20,000 elephants slaughtered each year for their ivory.

One area I have worked alongside the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation on is the campaign to end the exporting of live animals for slaughter.

I welcome the Government’s announcement that it will be restricting live animal for slaughter journeys. It is vital that we provide such protections after leaving the EU and its single market.

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Reflecting on 2021

Henry Smith MP column, Crawley Observer, 22 December 2021.