In the wake of reports that the government is backpedalling on its pledge to “have and promote the highest standards of animal welfare” by dropping the promised Animals Abroad Bill – which would ban imports of hunting “trophies”, fur, and foie gras as well as the promotion of elephant tourist rides overseas – a collection of the UK’s largest animal protection groups have united to form the “Don’t Betray Animals”
Coalition. Today, representatives from the coalition launched two enormous balloons, shaped like an elephant and a lion, in front of Parliament to send a clear message to Boris Johnson that animals need action, not hot air.
Several Members of Parliament, including Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion; Ruth Jones, Labour MP for Newport West; and Martyn Day, SNP MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, came to show support for the initiative. Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb (Green Party) and Baroness Hayman of Ullock (Labour) also attended.
The action is accompanied by a new poll by Focaldata, which shows that 72% of the UK public would like to see the government pass more laws designed to improve the welfare of animals and protect them from cruelty. (The poll surveyed over 10,000 respondents from 11 to 20 April.)
“To backtrack on this much-anticipated legislation would be an inexcusable betrayal of animals, who desperately need a kind nation to defend them,” says PETA Senior Campaigns Manager Kate Werner. “PETA is calling on Boris Johnson to deliver on his commitments and champion these vital measures for imperilled animals, from birds to big cats.”
“This poll shows how strongly animal welfare matters to voters. Support for laws to better protect animals cuts through party political divisions, the rural-urban and north-south divides, and remains consistent throughout other key demographics,” says Humane Society International/UK Executive Director Claire Bass. “These results clearly show strong expectations for the prime minister to deliver, including on the Animals Abroad Bill, so we can stop propping up cruel industries, like the fur trade, overseas.”
“We are now a year on from the release of the government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare. But rather than celebrating progress made, we’re lamenting reports that the prime minister is dropping important animal welfare legislation,” says Four Paws UK Country Director Sonul Badiani-Hamment.
“Despite offering repeated promises that would protect millions of animals, both in the UK and globally, rumours continue to circulate that pledges in manifestos were nothing more than empty gestures. The government cannot be allowed to deprioritise animal welfare, and we are determined to ensure they #DontBetrayAnimals.”