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Liberal Democrats

F4: Improving Animal Welfare

Submitted by 10 members

Mover: Baroness Bakewell | Summator: Baroness Parminter

This motion applies to    󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

This motion recognises that animals are able to feel pain and suffering. Animal welfare must therefore be protected and included in any new laws passed on farming, fisheries and trade.

Liberal Democrats support various existing animal welfare policies including stronger punishment for animal cruelty, funding research to reduce animal testing and banning caged hens.

This motion sets out a range of further measures to improve animal welfare, including:

  • Prevent unnecessarily painful practices in farming including non-anaesthetised castration, dehorning, live plucking and force feeding for foie gras.
  • Allow investigation of all animal experiments and end experiments that cause extreme suffering.
  • Promote responsible breeding of pets to reduce avoidable problems, such as breathing difficulties.
  • Prevent abuse of racehorses and reduce avoidable deaths by creating an independent regulatory body for horse welfare.
  • Ban the use of wild animals in circuses in England and Wales, in line with existing law in Scotland.
  • Ban the sale of ivory and parts of endangered species.


Mover: Baroness Bakewell (Lords Spokesperson on Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs).

Summation: Baroness Parminter.

Conference notes with concern that:

  1. 80 per cent of current animal welfare legislation originates from EU law.
  2. If the UK were to leave the EU, it could have serious implications for animal welfare in the UK.
  3. As a result of Brexit, the UK government may receive pressure from potential new trading partners to open markets to low-welfare animal products, undermining British producers and standards.

Conference believes that:

  1. Animals are sentient beings with the capacity to feel pain and suffering.
  2. All protection measures currently afforded to animals under EU regulations must be transposed into UK law.
  3. The government must pay full regard to animal welfare when developing all future policy, particularly upcoming legislation on farming, fisheries and international trade.
  4. Government policy must support British farmers to produce a safe and affordable supply of food while maintaining and where possible, improving high animal welfare standards.

Conference reaffirms pledges in the Liberal Democrat 2017 Manifesto, Change Britain's Future, to:

  1. Ensure that future trade agreements require high environmental and animal welfare standards at least equivalent to standards in the UK.
  2. Improve standards of animal health and welfare in agriculture by updating farm animal welfare codes and other legislation, and promoting the responsible stewardship of antibiotic drugs.
  3. Introduce stronger penalties for animal cruelty offences, clamp down on illegal pet imports, fund research into alternatives to animal testing and bring in a ban on caged hens.

Conference calls on the Government to:

  1. Prevent unnecessarily painful practices in farming including: non-anaesthetised castration, dehorning, live plucking and force feeding for foie gras.
  2. Commit to phasing out experiments on sentient animals that cause extreme suffering, as defined in UK legislation, and replacing them with humane alternatives.
  3. Include the justification for using live animals in experiments in the Freedom of Information Act.
  4. Ensure that all public procurement in the UK is compliant with high animal welfare standards.
  5. Ensure police officers and other public officers in charge of the enforcement of animal welfare legislation receive relevant training and maintain funding for the Wildlife Crime Unit.
  6. Promote responsible breeding of companion animals to reduce avoidable diseases and deformities that can result from pedigree and purebred practices.
  7. Support the establishment of an EU-wide harmonised system of identification and registration of companion animals.
  8. Establish an independent regulatory body for horse welfare, which is separate from the British Horseracing Authority, to prevent abuse of racehorses and reduce avoidable deaths.
  9. Avoid the culling of badgers, or other animals, for public or animal health reasons. Culling should only be considered as a last resort and carried out at the minimum necessary level if clear, independent scientific advice shows that no humane alternative is available.
  10. Ban the use of wild animals in circuses in England and Wales.
  11. Ban the use of glue traps which cause prolonged suffering for animals.
  12. Ban the sale of ivory and parts of endangered species.

Applicability: England only; except 7 and 12 which are Federal; and 5 and 10 which are England and Wales.