Defra’s Action Plan for Animals is a welcome step in the right direction to protect animals, but could go further, says the League Against Cruel Sports in a statement today.

The national animal welfare charity says underpinning animal welfare reform with the idea that animals are sentient beings is an important step in ensuring animals are a given proper protections.

However, the charity says that while the government is acknowledging wild animals are sentient they seem to be left out of most of the protections that are being pledged to other animals, such as domestic pets and farm animals.

Similarly, while the government has pledged to tackle hare coursing, which is illegal under the Hunting Act, there is no mention of tightening that same act to ensure other crimes against wildlife can be properly prosecuted.

The League welcomes Defra’s pledge to conduct an evidence-based review into snaring, and will be keen to contribute to forming policy on the use, possession and sale of snares.

And while it is right the government celebrates outlawing battery cages for breeding hens, the League calls for the same welfare standards to be extended to ‘game’ birds kept in tiny cages to rear birds that are then shot for ‘sport’.

We would also be keen to feed into the detail of how welfare standards of racehorses can further be raised, but would also call for Defra to look seriously at whether greyhound racing can ever be compatible with animal welfare.

It is right that the welfare of domestic pets and farm animals are protected by robust laws, but we would ask that the same protection be given to wild animals.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email [email protected]

Defra's Action Plan for Animal Welfare can be read in full here.

The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).