There are certain events that can really renew your optimism as an animal rights advocate. Hear the pledge to introduce new legislation to “ensure the UK has, and promotes, the highest standards of animal welfare” in the Queen’s speech at the official opening of parliament this week , was one of them.

The importance of the government’s recognition that as our understanding of other animals has evolved, our laws must evolve too cannot be overstated. The simple and blatant recognition that animals are like us – with their families, their intelligence, their emotions and their own cultures and languages ​​- means that we must provide them with greater legal protection against human exploitation, abuse and neglect. And keeping its pledge to recognize animal sensibility in the law and to place it “at the heart of policy making”, as the government has pledged to do, is a vital step in the moral evolution of our society. .

In addition to the introduction of the much-anticipated Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, animal welfare groups expect to see several other important bills introduced in this new parliamentary session as part of the “The government’s ambitious and far-reaching plan to move forward. reforms in the… Animal Welfare Action Plan ”including, hopefully, a ban on fur imports.

Fur farming has been illegal in the UK for almost 20 years, but strangely enough we have continued to import around 55million pounds of fur, including from countries where animals still spend their miserable lives spinning frantically in tight, dirty cages, driven insane by confinement. For the fur trim adorning Canada Goose’s parkas, sold at its Regent’s Street store and by a small handful of other unscrupulous retailers, including Harvey Nichols, coyotes are caught in steel traps it would be illegal here and could suffer for days while enduring blood loss, shock, dehydration, frostbite and gangrene.

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Medical Defense Union (MDU)

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National Office for Animal Health (NOAH)

The bears still slaughtered to make the caps of the Queen’s Guard are often mothers whose cubs starve or die of predation without her protecting them – utterly indefensible when their namesake, the Queen herself, refuses to ‘buy fur. The surviving cubs are known to moan when hunters shoot their mothers in front of them and moan and cry for weeks afterward in apparent grief. And of course, bears aren’t alone in mourning the loss of loved ones, just as we are.

Anthropology professor Barbara J. King shares many more devastating stories in her book How animals cry. Only animals born with it need fur, especially when we have so many human and ecological options that no one has to die for. A bill to ban fur imports is badly needed if the government is to keep its promise that ‘our high animal welfare standards are not compromised in our trade negotiations’, and with 95% of Britons opposed to the port real fur would also be extremely popular law.

Our new status as an independent nation outside the EU also offers the UK the opportunity to close its borders to foie gras and earn our status as a ‘world leader in international animal welfare advocacy’, which the government considers to be a part of its bill for animals abroad.

There is no doubt that, of all the many cruel practices involving animals in factory farming today, the production of foie gras (“foie gras”) is one of the most cruel. In order to allow the liver to dilate up to 10 times its natural size, ducks and geese are force-fed using a procedure known as force-feeding, in which a long pipe is pushed down their throat and a large amount of food is pumped into their stomachs three to four times a day for several weeks until their liver grows so big that it presses on their lungs, this which makes breathing difficult.

The inhumane product is illegal to produce in 17 countries, including the UK, with 79% of the British public in favor of an import ban also, which makes perfect sense given that a product that is too cruel to produce here should logically also be too cruel to sell.

Eighty percent of the UK public want the government’s post-Brexit trade deals to clearly require imported animal products to meet or exceed UK production standards for animal welfare. It boils down to this: There is simply no justification for fur, foie gras, hunting trophies or any other animal abuse product to be allowed in Britain or for shipping UK animals on trips. hellish to be fattened and slaughtered abroad.

In 1822, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to introduce animal welfare legislation, and as the bicentenary of this historic law approaches, the Queen’s Speech served to honor this legacy and define the kind of country we want to be in the future. . While you can be sure PETA and other animal welfare groups will keep the government on its commitments to animals, new laws on the books to help break down the false barrier between humans and other animals are not coming. really necessary: ​​we can already refuse to support industries that treat them as mere objects instead of the sensitive, complex and intelligent individuals that they are – simply by leaving their body parts off our plates and out of our wardrobes .

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