Visit the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair’s website here.

Animal Cruelty Sentencing

I have received a number of e-mails expressing concerns about the nature of sentencing for animal cruelty offences. I am pleased that we have a robust legal framework to tackle this vicious behaviour in the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal. The courts must decide…

Puppies, Kittens and Pets

Breeding of Pets All captive animals are universally protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it a criminal offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal or fail to provide for its welfare. Anyone in the business of breeding dogs or running a pet shop must be licensed by their local council, and be…

Animal Sentience

UPDATE: The draft Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill sets out that the Government “must have regard to the welfare needs of animals as sentient beings in formulating and implementing government policy”, and will also increase the sentences available to the courts in the most severe cases of animal cruelty to up to…

Fur Imports

Thank you for contacting me about the fur trade. I support the highest standards of animal welfare so I am pleased to note that the importation of fur products is tightly regulated. It is illegal to import furs derived from cats or dogs, or products made from them; in addition the fur and skin of…

Blue Belt

I am delighted that 23 new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) have been announced, in addition to the 27 designated in the last Parliament and over 500 other marine protected areas that already existed in the UK. Together these help fulfil the ambitious pledge to create a ‘Blue Belt’ of protection for our diverse marine wildlife,…

Wild Animals in Circuses

Thank you for contacting me about wild animals in circuses. I know that the Government remains committed to introducing a ban on wild animals in circuses. Currently, the ban stands to impact on two travelling circuses in England that now operate with only a small number of wild animals. Conditions of the remaining wild animals…

Plastic Free Parliament

Without urgent action to cut demand, plastic production is likely to reach 34 billion tonnes by 2050, the majority of which will end up in landfill or polluting the world’s continents and oceans. Re-using and recycling plastics is critical. I am glad to tell you that the new 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment…

Horses

Race Horse Welfare and Use of the Whip  The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is the independent body responsible for regulating the sport of horseracing. It works closely with animal charities such as the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare to ensure that the highest of standards are upheld. As a consequence, Britain is regarded as having…

Food Labelling Matters

Thank you for contacting me about labelling food with details of the farming system used to produce it. I fully appreciate the importance of this issue, given the £200 billion UK consumers spend each year on food, drink and catering services. Consumer confidence is more important in this industry than in any other, and is…

Animal Testing

Thank you for contacting me about animal testing and Early Day Motion (EDM) 66. Unfortunately, EDMs have fallen into disrepute in recent years, as they cost around £400,000 a year to administer and have little legislative effect. As such, I choose not to sign them. The carefully regulated use of animals in scientific research remains…

Pheasants and Partridges

Thank you for contacting me about the welfare of pheasants bred for shooting. I appreciate your concerns on this issue. Both I and the Government are committed to the highest standards of animal welfare, so I am glad to tell you that the Animal Welfare Act 2006 already makes it clear that gamebirds must not…

Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary

Thank you for contacting me about establishing an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary. This campaign has my full support, and I am delighted to tell you that the UK is one of the leading proponents of establishing a Marine Protected Area in the Weddell Sea. On our behalf the Government will be advocating strongly for its adoption…

Real Bread Campaign

Thank you for contacting me about the Real Bread Campaign’s ‘Honest Crust Act’ campaign. I am proud that the UK offers some of the best food produce in the world, and I agree that consumers have a right to be informed about the products they buy. Longstanding EU regulations ensure that the labelling and advertising…

Paths and Countryside

Thank you for contacting me about the possibility of using the UK’s future agricultural policy to support the development and maintenance of paths, and the ‘Your Path Awaits’ campaign by Ramblers. As the UK leaves the EU the Government are working on a new domestic agricultural policy. The Government proposes to move to a system…

Trophy Hunting

Thank you for contacting me about trophy hunting imports. Unfortunately, EDMs have fallen into disrepute in recent years, as they cost around £400,000 a year to administer and have little legislative effect. As such, I choose not to sign them. I understand your concerns, and I agree that it is important we protect endangered animals…

Air Pollution

Thank you for contacting me about air quality and pollution.  Air quality has improved significantly since 2010, but sixty years on from the Clean Air Act air pollution is still making people ill, shortening lives and damaging our economy and environment.  I welcome the Government’s new draft Clean Air Strategy which aims to cut air…

Water Industry

Thank you for contacting me about the water industry.  Unfortunately, EDMs have fallen into disrepute in recent years, as they cost around £400,000 a year to administer and have little legislative effect. As such, I choose not to sign them.  I strongly believe that properly regulated private markets are the best way to meet the…

Agroecology

Thank you for contacting me about agroecology.  I am pleased to be able to tell you that ‘A UK Strategy for Agricultural Technologies’ was launched in 2013, designed to examine how the UK can meet the challenge of feeding a growing population without damaging the natural environment.  Central to the strategy is using basic research…

Animal Welfare and Farming

Factory Farming I understand the strength of feeling about the issue and I am committed to the highest standards of animal welfare, including on farms. The UK’s strong commitment in this area is reflected in World Animal Protection’s recent Animal Protection Index, which judged 50 countries on their policy and legislation for animals and saw…

Protection of Pollinators

Thank you for contacting me about measures to protect pollinators. I entirely agree with you that bees and other pollinators play an essential role in our food production and are vital to the survival of our wild plants. There are around 1,500 species of insect pollinator in the UK, and I welcome all work to…

Agriculture Bill

I am told that the Government is currently reflecting on concerns raised during Committee Stage, from conversations with colleagues and interested parties and on the amendments tabled to the Bill. I look forward to the Bill coming back to the House, at which point I will have the opportunity to vote on any amendments brought…

Environment Bill

Thank you for contacting me about the environment. The European Union has been a force for good environmentally and I hope that the Government has no intention of weakening the environmental protections it has seen put in place. I will be keeping a very close eye on this Bill when it comes to Parliament and…

Manifesto for Wildlife

Thank you for contacting me about the environment. I share your desire to protect wildlife and am pleased that the Government is committed to being the UK’s greenest ever. As the authors of the ‘Manifesto for Wildlife’ concede that their document is a provisional first draft, let me outline some of the actions the Government…