The Labour Party has used the tenth anniversary of the Hunting Act to launch its “Labour Protecting Animals” pledge. The pledge is light on detail and skates over several issues, including “defending” the Hunting Act, commenting: “Only Labour can protect the Hunting Act because Labour is the only major political party committed to defending it.” Interesting that a pledge to do nothing now passes muster. We have concerns about the wording of the aspect of the party’s pledge dedicated “to reducing animal cruelty on shooting estates,” saying it will “Tackle wildlife crime and reduce animal cruelty on shooting estates.” Why shooting estates, specifically? You can’t help but feel that Labour Party class warfare is alive and well.
This section pledges to: “protect birds of prey on shooting estates” and we await the detail here. The document then declares an intention to review snaring saying “it is right that Labour works with stakeholders to address this cruel practice” which presumably means all shooting organisations, although the pre-emptive use of the word “cruel” does not bode well. Finally it says “The Labour Party is clear that more should be done to reduce the suffering of animals on shooting estates.” This is the least clear aspect of the pledge and we haven written to Shadow Defra Secretary for clarification on exactly what this means.
You can read the pledge in full here. Broadly, document is full of rhetoric and we suspect the fairly cynical timing of publication, the 10th anniversary of the Hunting Act, was the real target, not the chance to set-out how to improve wildlife and its management or support those who do.