The League Against Cruel Sports has just completed a second successful week of the political party conference season, this time in Manchester with the Labour Party.
On Sunday, we attended an RSPB fringe event on the environment, before heading off to the RSPCA’s curry and beer night to listen to the guest speaker, Shadow Secretary of State for Department of Food, Environment and Agriculture (DEFRA), Mary Creagh. We were encouraged to hear from her Labour’s clear opposition to the badger cull and the case for vaccination. We also heard her concerns about the potential repeal of the Hunting Act, which was reiterated by RSPCA Chief Executive, Gavin Grant. We finished the evening meeting representatives of IFAW (International Fund for Animal Fund) and the RSPCA, with whom we are working closely to oppose the badger cull.
Monday was another very busy day for us, which we began by attending a reception hosted by BASC (British Association for Shooting and Conservation). We heard from Tom Davies, Shadow Environment Minister and Shadow Home Office Minister Baroness Smith. We are concerned about Labour’s apparent support for the shooting industry, and will be pressing the shadow Ministers for a clear policy on this matter.
We then attended a Blue Cross event on whether we are still a nation of animal lovers, where we heard from Shadow DEFRA Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies and where the important issue of dog fighting was raised (something the League is campaigning on). It was then onto the Labour Animal Welfare Society (LAWS) meeting to listen to a great array of speakers, including the Shadow Foreign Minister, Kerry McCarthy (Vice President of the League) and our very own Chief Executive, Joe Duckworth! After attending the World Society for the Protection of Animals event, we met up with colleagues from IFAW to discuss our tactics to oppose the badger cull before dancing the night away, with varying degrees of finesse.
Tuesday morning we had a meeting with Willie Bain MP, Shadow Scottish Minister, to discuss animal welfare concerns in Scotland before moving on to meet with Mary Creagh MP to debate Labour’s policies on animal welfare, and reiterate our concerns to her over the badger cull.
So, despite the rain, we enjoyed a highly successful and active three days. We are pleased Labour are opposed to the badger cull, but we want to see a firm commitment against wildlife crime and shooting, which is why we have sent every MP a copy of Gunsmoke and Mirrors, our shocking exposé of the game bird shooting industry.
Two conferences down, one to go and onto Birmingham next week for the Conservative Party Conference, where we will be badgering Dave himself!