The welfare of animals is of great concern to Barry and, indeed, to many residents of Brent North. In fact, many residents have written to Barry particularly concerned about the Cats Protection Campaign and Barry has set out his position in relation to this campaign (i.e. the Manifesto for Cats) below:
I share your concern about the welfare of cats and believe it is important that all breeders follow the high animal welfare standards enshrined in the Animal Welfare Act (2006) which was introduced by the previous Labour Government.
The Animal Welfare Act, for the first time, embedded in statute clear standards relating to the welfare of domestic animals. This Act makes owners and keepers responsible for ensuring the welfare needs of their animals are met and makes it an offence to cause unnecessary physical or mental suffering to animals, including cats. This includes through the use of air guns, crossbows and snares.
The Cats Protection ‘Cat Manifesto’ campaign makes a number of recommendations and I know from the large number of letters and e-mails I have received that there is significant interest in this and the points it raises.
I believe the practice of snaring needs to be reviewed. The current Government has stated that it has no plans to consult on banning or restricting the use of snares but I am pleased that my Shadow Frontbench colleagues have stated that a future Labour Government would undertake an independent review on how to prevent non-target animals getting trapped in snares.
Under the terms of the Animal Welfare Act, breeders of dogs and cats may be investigated by local authorities where there are welfare concerns and it may also be possible to take action against an owner of a dangerously out of control dog where the dog has attacked and injured another animal, including cats.
I also share your concerns about the regulation of the breeding and sale of cats. I believe poor breeding practices contribute greatly to the number of abandoned animals rescue centres have to deal with. I am therefore pleased my Shadow Frontbench colleagues have stated that a future Labour Government would use the Animal Welfare Act as a benchmark for reviewing the breeding practices and sale of dogs and cats.
I am proud that the previous Labour Government achieved much to end the cruel and unnecessary suffering of animals and I believe it is important that the next Government similarly work with animal welfare groups to improve dog and cat welfare and to ensure animal welfare standards can be applied to modern trading practices such as the online trade of kittens.
I will continue to follow this issue closely and support the improved protection of cats.