On 25 March 2010, Labour's environment minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, said he was "minded" to ban performing wild animals after research showed that 94 per cent of the public supported a ban. Since the Coalition's rise to power DEFRA has said it was deciding whether or not to continue and that it would announce it's plans “in the Autumn”.
Between January 2009 and April 2010, Animal Aid secretly filmed several counts of extreme animal cruelty in five slaughterhouses. This included animals being kicked, slapped, stamped, and picked up by fleeces and ears and thrown into stunning pens. Some sheep had their throats cut while not properly stunned. DEFRA has since dropped the prosecution claiming that the case would fall through because the evidence was filmed “unlawfully”.
In July 2008 the then Environment Minister Hilary Benn said that a badger cull would be ineffective, causing a wider spread of bovine TB outside of culling areas. She instead committed £20m towards trials for vaccinations for badgers in six areas. The Con-Dem Government has proposed that farmers in areas of heavy TB infestation cull badgers by cage-trapping and shooting them, or by "free shooting" as animals emerge from their setts. It has scaled back trial vaccinations to one area.
Labour decided to end beak trimming, which is carried out to prevent laying hens pecking and cannibalising each other in cramped battery cages. A ban enacted eight years ago was due to come into force on 1 January 2011. After the egg industry said it was not prepared for the end of beak trimming, the Coalition will delay a complete ban by at least five years, until 2016. Instead, the Government banned trimming with hot blades and allowed another technology which still causes pain – infra-red.
It is obvious from this string of animal rights abuses that the Government is not interested in the rights and welfare of animals but the interests of middle-class institutions and big business. Until we recognise the true cause of animal abuse (capitalist greed) we will never see an end to such suffering. We need to unite together and bring an end to all forms of unnecessary animal suffering.