News & Research Blog Northern Ireland manifesto roundup Democratic Unionist Party Northern Ireland has raised the bar for animal cruelty offences with increased sentences seeing a maximum of 5 years in prison for the more serious offences, and the DUP offered great support in achieving this goal, We also welcome their continuing commitment to seeing an animal abuse register implemented and maintained. In January 2015 they released their animal welfare manifesto “Challenging Cruelty” where they stated “Any act of cruelty towards an animal should be punished. Those responsible for extreme cases of animal cruelty should go to prison.” Disappointingly this commitment seems to have waned, with the only mention of animal welfare in their manifesto relates to the aforementioned register. Alliance Party The Alliance Party have always maintained a high regard for animal welfare and it is pleasing to see that this manifesto includes a dedicated section for animal welfare, opposition to any repeal of The Hunting Act and want to see its extension to Northern Ireland. They have addressed the inefficiency and inhumane methods of badger culling and want to see resources spent on finding, and dealing, with the actual cause of the spread. The manifesto also calls for the use of snares to be outlawed and that the UK uses its influence to end ‘trophy hunting’. The Alliance Party have made a strong commitment to the animals, however we would have liked to have seen them go further than asking for the hunting act to be maintained and extended to NI and instead state it should be strengthened in both cases. Social and Democratic Labour Party The SDLP have not wavered in their long running opposition to “the barbaric practice of fox hunting” and state this clearly in this manifesto and that they will vote against any attempt to overturn it. This is as far as their commitments to animal welfare is reflected in the manifesto and while all support against the negative changes to the hunting act are welcomed, it would have been nice to see their statement widened to include other victims of hunting and shooting and not just the fox. Green Party (NI) The Green Party have been a great ally of the animals in Northern Ireland and support many of the progressive proposals made at Stormont. They work closely with animal welfare groups and we are pleased to see that in their manifesto is a commitment to see the hunting act extended to Northern Ireland, along with addressing the issue of puppy farming and agricultural practices. For all the work they do it would have been nice to see more than a passing reference to the hunting act and a stronger position on snares and the proposed badger cull.