“We Encourage Everyone Who Cares About Animals to Vote Remain”

Europe ahead road sign EU referendum Brussels Remain Brexit





There are 48 days and counting until the UK’s In/Out EU referendum on June 23rd. How are you going to vote? Remain, or Leave?

I was half tempted to join the Brexit camp, just because I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than give my support to our revered PM on ANYTHING.  But I was brought to my senses – as always, the animals prevailed. For people who love animals, one question really matters:

Will animals be better off if we stay, or if we go?

This letter from a cross-party group of MPs, which includes our lovely Kerry, Shadow Secretary for EFRA, published in the Guardian on 29th April, makes a good case to Remain:

It’s important to consider how animal protection would be affected, were the UK to leave the EU. By working with other nations, international issues such as illegal trafficking of wildlife and destruction of habitats can be addressed far more effectively. The EU is at the forefront of fighting cosmetics cruelty, having banned cosmetics testing on animals as well as the sale of animal-tested cosmetic ingredients – shaping industry and regulatory practice worldwide. The EU has raised welfare standards for farm animals, for example, banning the confinement of breeding sows in narrow stalls.

Individual governments can come under significant pressure from corporate lobbyists to weaken or remove binding standards on animal protection. In this context, EU-wide minimum standards to tackle animal cruelty are more important than ever.

EU European Union Europe map globe world 28 countries stars remain brexit referendumAnimal advocates know that EU rules on animal protection don’t go nearly far enough, but to improve the standards, we need to remain part of the EU and strive to make them stronger. On some critical animal protection issues, such as banning of testing for cosmetics on animals, the UK has actually shown leadership in the EU; we have played a full part in shaping EU-wide standards, and should continue to do so. We believe that animals need the EU, and we encourage everyone who cares about animals to vote Remain.
Caroline Lucas MP
Green, Brighton Pavilion
Kerry McCarthy MP
Labour, Bristol East, Shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs
See full list of 36 signatories Good to see some Tory ones too. Your own MP may be here! 

But let’s face it, we have a Tory government that hates animals. Look at their record on just a few animal issues:
Most recent was their attempt to deregulate the poultry industry, abandoned after an outcry from animal charities and their supporters.
Next the Wild Animals in Circuses (Prohibition) Bill. The government in spite of all its promises, has dragged its heels on this for 6 years, and then only allowed it to be brought to the House of Commons as a Private Members Bill, which failed to even get its second reading. Would you believe, one Tory MP even spoke in defence of the use of wild animal in circuses!
Number 3, planning permission to expand a beagle farm, where beagle puppies are bred as laboratory fodder. Local people lodged their submissions objecting to the plans, hundreds of thousands of animal-lovers signed petitions, and permission was twice rejected by the local council. The Tory government’s Communities Minister simply overrode the council, the locals and the electorate, and gave approval for B & K’s monstrous proposal. Typical of this government’s dictatorial style.
Let’s go on to the badger cull. The House of Commons is against it, expert opinion is against it, scientific findings are against it, and the public are against it. But the NFU want it, and what the NFU want, the NFU gets.
I could go on, but I can’t leave the topic without mentioning David Cameron’s election pledge to abolish the Hunting Act 2004. Not only is the PM an avowed supporter of bloodsports, he is an active participator. How can we expect a government led by such a man to protect the interests of animals?
There is a point to this seeming digression. It’s this: in my opinion, the EU has introduced many Europe-wide protections for animals, and stands as a safeguard to prevent governments like ours dragging animal protection backwards. Which is certainly what Mr Cameron would do if left to his own devices.

Other supporters of staying in for animals?
Ed Miliband joined the debate, warning voters that choosing to leave the European Union will put Britain’s environment and wildlife at risk. With less than seven weeks until the 23 June referendum, the former Labour leader is leading a fresh cross-party drive appealing to Britons to back Remain. He joined forces with Conservative environment secretary Liz Truss, Liberal Democrat ex-energy secretary Ed Davey and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas to warn of the damage that would be caused by Brexit. . BuzzFeed
Hmm, Ed … Liz Truss? Really? Ms Truss the badger-killer is hardly a standard-bearer for the environment or for wildlife. Your other ‘bed-fellow’, Caroline Lucas, we can go with.

The Scottish National Party want us to remain. They first sentence of the document they’ve published says: “The European Union plays a key role when it comes to guaranteeing the welfare of animals across Europe, something guaranteed in European treaty.”

Click here to see what Compassion in World Farming has to say. They are only talking about farmed animals of course, but they offer a user-friendly summary. Two points I would add. Firstly, because traditionally the UK has led the way in animal welfare, by remaining we have the opportunity to influence for the better future EU legislation, as we have done in the past. And secondly, as I may have already mentioned, Europe protects animals from the worst that this animal-hating government can throw at them! Those two things may seem contradictory, but we won’t be saddled with the Tories for ever, I hope!

The RSPCA also sets out the Pros and Cons arguments, while remaining strictly neutral and non-political.

One more reason I’m voting to Remain

Many animal advocacy organisations are either working on a Europe-wide basis, or are starting to join forces with their european counterparts.

Surely we are stronger together for animals?


Eurobarometer 2016

Eurogroup for Animals

The European Enforcement Network of Animal Welfare Lawyers and Commissioners 

The European Parliament’s Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals Click on this final link for a comprehensive list of the EU’s achievements for animals.

Citizens want a Europe that cares for animals. Now we should get on and build it.

Reinere Hamelgers CEO Eurogroup for Animals



4 thoughts on ““We Encourage Everyone Who Cares About Animals to Vote Remain”

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