What party manifestos are offering to help animals abused for sport

As Wales heads to the polls, the League assesses what the party manifesto’s are offering to help animals abused for sport.

On 6 May, Welsh voters will decide who will govern Wales for the next five years.  The League has asked all candidates standing for election to the Senedd whether they support our campaign calls for a comprehensive ban on the manufacture, sale, possession and use of snares; and for a ban on the use of cages for the breeding of ‘game’ birds.

We also made submissions to the main parties standing, asking them to consider our asks when preparing their manifestos for the election.

All too often, animals abused in the name of so-called sport are overlooked by the policy and political agendas, which tend to focus much more on companion animals, farmed animals and wildlife.

The parties have now started to publish their manifestos and we have been scrutinising them to see what pledges might help the animals we give a voice to. 

Wales Green Party

The party has a dedicated manifesto on ‘animal protection’.  In the section on ‘animals in sport’ they detail their opposition to the use of animals in sport and entertainment and to all bloodsports. We warmly welcome this, especially the focus on ‘animals used in sport’ as the cohort that the League works to give a voice are often overlooked, unlike companion, farmed or wild animals.  The document also details the party’s opposition to factory farming. As always, our view is that factory farming includes birds bred for sport.  The manifesto can be found at: Animals-manifesto-English.pdf (greenparty.org.uk)

In their general manifesto, the party commit that: ‘We will appoint a new Welsh Government Commissioner for Biodiversity and Animal Protection to reverse the decline of biodiversity in Wales. The Commissioner will develop a task force and set plans for the recovery of Welsh ecologies, landscapes, animals and plant life.’

We welcome the proposal for a Commissioner with this inclusive remit and would press for the task force and plans to be inclusive of animals used in and harmed in the name of so-called ‘sport’.

Welsh Labour

We are delighted to see this manifesto commit the party to a ban on snares and to restrict the use of cages for farmed animals.  We also welcome the proposals for a national model of regulation of animal welfare and better training and accreditation for animal welfare inspectors.

The relevant section says: Develop a national model for regulation of animal welfare, introducing registration for animal welfare establishments, commercial breeders for pets or for shooting, and animal exhibits. We will improve the qualifications for animal welfare inspectors to raise their professional status. We will require CCTV in all slaughterhouses, we will ban the use of snares, and restrict the use of cages for farmed animals. We will not allow the culling of badgers to control the spread of TB in cattle.’

We would argue for a ban to cover the manufacture, sale, possession and use of snares and for the restrictions on the use of cages to encompass a ban on ‘game’ bird breeding cages.

Full manifesto here: Welsh Labour (movingforward.wales)

Welsh Liberal Democrats

While not addressing snares and ‘game’ bird breeding cages directly, the manifesto pledges to ‘Pass a Wildlife Act for Wales, creating clarity and consistency on the policy and legislation that protects wildlife.’  This is very promising.  The League would press for any such Act to include measures to deliver our requested bans on snares and cages.

Full manifesto here: Our plan to Put Recovery First (welshlibdems.wales)

Welsh Conservatives

There is no mention of snares or ‘game’ bird cages, but the manifesto’s section on animal welfare and wildlife section commits to:

Enhance animal welfare and protect wildlife: Establish an animal offender register in Wales; Ban the keeping of primates as pets; Review pet breeding standards and registration requirements to ensure adequate protection for animals and bring forward the ban on the third party sale of cats and dogs; Promote honest labelling to enhance consumer choice, including distinguishing between stunned and non-stunned slaughter methods and introduce CCTV in abattoirs; Establish a £20 million Wales Wildlife Fund to support conservation efforts across Wales.’

There are no further details given of how the proposed Wales Wildlife Fund would work and what it would prioritise.  

The proposed list of legislation that the party would seek to enact includes an Animal Welfare Bill, which is welcome and which we hope would include measures to address the suffering of animals used in so-called ‘sport’.

Back in 2015, party leader Andrew RT Davies and then shadow minister Russell George both went on the record in the National Assembly and backed our calls for a ban on snares. We are hopeful that the party leadership maintains this position even if it is not explicitly mentioned in the manifesto.

Full manifesto here: 2021 Senedd Manifesto_Wales ENGLISH.pdf (conservatives.wales)

Plaid Cymru

There is no mention of snares or ‘game’ bird cages in the current Plaid Cymru manifesto.

In 2016, the party’s manifesto committed to ‘regulate the use of snares’.

There are a number of proposals in the ‘Animal Welfare’ section but they focus on companion animals and equines.

Full manifesto here: Manifesto - The Party of Wales

UKIP

Snares and cages are not addressed by this manifesto but the League supports the commitment to ‘increase the maximum jail sentences for animal cruelty’ and we would press for this to include cruelty to animals linked to cruel, so-called ‘sports’.

Full manifesto here: https://www.ukip.wales/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/UKIP-Wales-Manifesto-2021.pd

In some cases, candidates hold a personal stance on snaring and ‘game’ bird cages which is different to that of their party. Please check our candidate responses table to view the responses of individuals.

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