Responses to Actions

Thursday 22nd March 2012

Response from Ken Livingstone, Mayoral Candidate, regarding London's Wildlife Crime epidemic.

"Thank you very much for your email.

As a life-long wildlife enthusiast, I share your concern about the dreadful trade in endangered species.

The people carrying out these crimes often have links to drugs cartels, organised crime and even terrorism. It's a major source of revenue for a global network of hardened criminals all growing rich from the trafficking of wildlife, and none about to have a crisis of conscience and stop what they're doing.

That is why in 2003, when I was Mayor of London, I established the Wildlife Crime Unit in the Metropolitan Police.

Sadly, Boris Johnson, the current Tory Mayor, has now halved the funding for this unit, putting iots future at risk.

I can promise you that if Londoners choose me as their Mayor in the election on 3rd May this year, I will restore full funding to the Wildlife Crime Unit so that it can continue its essential work.

Best wishes,

Ken Livingstone"

Please feel free to comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts!  

Thursday 22nd March 2012

Response from Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, regarding London's Wildlife Crime epidemic.

"Thank you for your letter to Boris Johnson about wildlife crime policing in London.  I know that this is an issue which many people feel extremely strongly about and I will ensure that he is aware of the points you make.

Boris Johnson is, like you, highly appreciative of the work of the Metropolitan Police’s Wildlife Crime Unit and has made an ongoing commitment to its continued tackling of illegal wildlife trade through London.  While the team’s resources have been scaled back, this was done after a thorough analysis by the Metropolitan Police of the team’s needs and requirements.  These changes should also be seen in the context of scarce and reduced resources and the public's priorities of safeguarding frontline police offers in the boroughs and tackling knife and other violent crime.  The Wildlife Crime Unit, however, remains an important part of the Met’s work and continues to have a vital role to in combating the scourge that is wildlife crime.

Thank you again for taking the time to write."

Please feel free to comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts!  

Wednesday 14th March 2012

Response from Michael Cashman, MEP for London, regarding compassionate food labelling.

"Dear Constituent,

Thank you for writing to me regarding method of production labelling for meat and dairy products. I share your concerns about the transparency of food labelling and the need for better consumer information about animal welfare standards.

As you have pointed out in your email, currently shell-eggs are the only products with a labelling based on method of production. The remarkable rise in the production of cage-free eggs in many countries since the introduction of this mandatory labelling scheme suggests that consumers are reacting positively to the availability of clear information as to farming method. There are also "optional reserved terms" for poultry meat. However, as these are voluntary schemes, the effect of this is that very few products provide information on welfare standards and there is very little motivation for more producers to improve animal welfare and market their products accordingly. My colleague and Labour spokesperson on Agriculture Brian Simpson, sent therefore recently a letter to the Health and Consumer Commissioner John Dalli, urging him to consider making poultry meat terms compulsory and extending these to other animal-derived products. The development of such new EU-wide labelling schemes would be valuable in stimulating the market for higher welfare products. It would also help provide a fair and positive future for farmers who are prepared to invest in higher welfare systems.

Would we have compulsory labelling with the method of production, it would not however include the transport and slaughter methods, which represent a very big part of the animal welfare problems for food producing animals.

My colleague Glenis Willmott, spokesperson for Labour MEPs on public health and food safety, has been dealing with these issues. During the four years of work on the food labelling legislation Glenis has fought hard for increased transparency so that consumers can easily see what is in the food they buy. Alongside calling for better nutritional labelling, Glenis was also instrumental in pushing for a number of measures relating to animal welfare. She was successful in convincing the European Parliament and the governments of the 27 EU countries to introduce country of origin labelling for fresh meat and fish within two years, and to consider doing the same for meat and fish used in processed foods.  This will enable consumers to see how far their meat has travelled from farm to fork, which is important for both animal welfare and environmental reasons.

Another important measure Glenis wanted to introduce was labelling on the method of slaughter.  Evidence shows that the most humane way to kill an animal is to pre-stun it, and this is the standard way of slaughtering animals for meat across the EU.  However, an exception exists for ritual slaughter to provide meat to some religious communities.  Whilst Labour MEPs support this exemption, we know that a lot of the meat slaughtered ritually is then sold on to the general food market, and consumers have no way of knowing that the meat they are buying was not killed in the most humane way possible.  Although Glenis was successful in getting the support of the Parliament for method of slaughter labelling, it was impossible to get EU governments, including the British government, to agree.  A compromise was reached and the European Commission committed to addressing this issue in the upcoming EU strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015, and Labour MEPs intend to hold them to this promise.

Labour Euro MPs have always strongly supported raising welfare standards for animals across the EU and we believe that food labelling is an important mechanism for helping achieving that. We will therefore continue fighting for increased transparency so that consumers can identify welfare friendly products and positively influence animal welfare by their purchasing behaviour.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Cashman MEP"

Please feel free to comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Thursday 23rd February 2012

Response from Mary Honeyball, Labour MEP for London, regarding the 8 Hour Initiative:

"Thank you for your email in which you outline your concern about the conditions under which animals are transported within the EU and ask me to sign written Declaration 49/2011.  I very much agree that the suffering of animals must stop and have already signed the Written Declaration 49/2011 you mention, as well as the 8 hour initiative - which has had over a million signatures.

The EU Animal Transport regulation which came into force in 2007, while far from perfect, was a step forward in terms of setting down tougher rules on the welfare conditions of animals during transportation.  What is troubling is that even these minimum standards are still not being strictly enforced by all Member States. This leads to welfare problems such as animals being transported with injuries or visible signs of disease, animals not being watered or rested and inadequate space allowances.

Labour MEPs strongly believe that current rules need to be properly implemented and enforced, but we also want them to be strengthened, in order to, for example, include a maximum limit on journey times - we believe no animal should be transported for more than 8 hours.   We therefore remain supportive of a reform, and we intend to keep up the pressure on the European Commission to propose a revision of the current rules.

Thank you again for raising this issue with me and I hope this information has been helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Mary Honeyball MEP
Labour MEP for London"

Please feel free to comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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