The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, which has the backing of several MPs, has published a manifesto containing a number of anti-shooting proposals, including a review of the industry
The Countryside Alliance (CA) has called on the Conservative Party to distance itself from an animal welfare group that it says is “masquerading” as part of the party.
The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, established last year, seeks “an inquiry into commercial driven shoots” and urges the Government to “commit to a review of the industry of shooting live birds for sport shooting”. Its manifesto, Brexit: Opportunities for Animal Welfare, also calls for a ban on snares, the introduction of a statutory close season for hares and for the Government to “end the badger culls and focus on biosecurity and stricter cattle movement controls instead”.
The foundation is currently distributing a post-Brexit charter to MPs, which makes no mention of the anti-shooting proposals contained within its separate manifesto paper.
Though the group uses Conservative Party branding, including the distinctive tree logo and the Conservative name, in its publications, a spokesman for the party told Shooting Times that the foundation is not affiliated. However, the foundation counts several Conservative MPs among its patrons, including Sir Roger Gale, Conservative MP for Thanet North, Henry Smith, MP for Crawley, and Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West.
Links to LACS and Conservatives Against Fox Hunting
The director of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation is Lorraine Platt, who also runs the affiliated Conservatives Against Fox Hunting campaign group and is a trustee of the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS). Both these organisations strongly oppose shooting sports. Mrs Platt established the foundation with her husband, Chris, former president of Esher & Walton Conservatives Constituency Association.
The CA noted that the manifesto bears a “striking similarity” to the document written by Labour animal welfare activists — with input from LACS, the RSPCA and Animal Aid —during the Labour Party conference in September.
CA head of shooting Liam Stokes urged the Conservative Party to sever any ties with the foundation. “The Conservatives are often considered natural allies of the shooting community,” he said. “Eighty per cent of rural constituencies in England and Wales are held by Conservatives. Yet here we see a group masquerading as part of the Conservative Party, using official Conservative Party branding, echoing the most hard line of animal rights organisations by damning game shooting as ‘the industry of shooting live birds as targets for sport’.
“The Conservative Party needs to distance itself from this organisation, and we would encourage Conservative members who love the countryside and love shooting to contact party officials and ask them to clarify the status of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation.
“We would also ask individual MPs, who may have unwittingly offered support to the foundation without understanding its true nature, to reconsider their position.”
Visit po.st/CAWF to read the foundation manifesto in full.