Danny Bates, Policy Coordinator for London Green Party said: "Animals should have the right to live without human-inflicted suffering or cruelty. They also deserve the right to have their basic needs met. The inadequacy of current animal welfare legislation means that these basic rights are often not respected.
"Much more needs to be done by the government and also at the international level, but Greens want to ensure that action takes place now. That’s why in the run up to the local elections on 2 May, we’re proposing a series of local animal rights policies and initiatives that can be adopted by councils now."
The Green Party is pledging a wide range of policies to better protect the rights and needs of animals. These measures would be introduced to London boroughs by Green councillors.
Green animal rights policies for London borough councils:
· Animal Protection audit
A wide range of animals are affected by policies and activities undertaken by council departments. A full audit of council activities and policies which affect animals would identify problems and examples of good practice which could be shared across departments.
· Animal Rights Officers
Greens on the London Assembly managed to secure the appointment of an Animal Protection Officer for London. Greens want an Animal Rights Officer working for every London borough in conjunction with the GLA London Animal Protection Officer to ensure protection of the rights and needs of animals in all parts of the capital.
· Stricter standards on pet shops
Greens want to see councils apply much stricter standards when granting licenses to pet shops. Pet shops with highly confined and poorly kept animals must become a thing of the past.
· Subsidised neutering and spaying services
The suffering of stray and unwanted animals is a cause of major concern. Although charities do a lot of work in parts of London, councils should do much more. Subsidised neutering and spaying services sponsored by councils would tackle the problem at its source – reducing the number of strays and unwanted animals, and reducing the pressure on council animal wardens.
· Humane methods for councils controlling animal populations
Lethal control of animals – such as foxes and pigeons – is frequently cruel. This needless suffering can be avoided with innovative humane, non-lethal methods of control. Methods are sustainable and potentially more cost effective than the ‘pest control’ approach. Greens would initiate pilot schemes of humane methods in consultation with relevant animal consultants.
· No Animal circuses on council controlled land
There is considerable evidence that both domestic and exotic animals suffer cruel and degrading treatment in circuses. Greens oppose the use of any animals in circuses. Whilst calling on the UK government to ban animal circuses, Greens will work to ensure councils do not grant permission for animal circuses on council-controlled land.
· Promotion of the Humane Research Donor Card
Every year millions of animals suffer horribly painful deaths in the UK as a result of animal experimentation. Councils can promote and publicise the Humane Research Donor Card to council staff and members of the public. More card carriers means increased availability of human tissue for medical research and less use of animals.
· Promotion of vegetarian, vegan and organic food
Greens want the cruel practices of factory farming banned. People are increasingly voicing their opposition to factory farming, turning to more ethical diets. In the interests of animals and the environment, Greens will urge councils to promote these alternatives – vegetarian, vegan and organic food. Greens will also press for more vegetarian and vegan options to be available for school meals.