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Jim Fitzpartick
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Animal Welfare

09 Aug

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Jim Fitzpatrick backs UK ivory surrender to protect elephants

August 9, 2017 | By | No Comments

Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick has lent his support to a new ivory surrender launched by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to help protect elephants from further slaughter for the illegal ivory trade.

Members of the public are being invited to surrender their own ivory which will be destroyed as part of a campaign to close the UK’s ivory market and save this iconic species from the threat of extinction.

IFAW, which has run previous successful public ivory surrenders in the UK, believes it is vital now more than ever before that the British public stand up for elephants by helping to end consumer demand for ivory products and keep up the pressure for a domestic ban on the ivory trade.

New polling released by IFAW reveals that the vast majority of the UK public want to protect elephants with a UK trade ban and do not wish to purchase ivory themselves. An overwhelming 95% of respondents polled by YouGov stated that they would not be interested in purchasing antique ivory.

Jim Fitzpatrick said:

“I was pleased to join IFAW and offer my backing to this important campaign. Time is running out for the elephant and we need to do what we can to ensure their survival. From the volume of correspondence I’ve received, it’s clear there’s much wider approval.

“I would like to encourage anyone from Poplar and Limehouse who has unwanted ivory to support IFAW’s ivory surrender which will help ensure that ivory is only valued on a live, wild elephant, where it belongs.”

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said:

“We are very grateful for Jim’s support for our campaign. Time really is running out for elephants and if we do not act now it will be too late. Historically ivory has been seen by many as a status symbol and something to value, but the reality is that a piece of ivory represents a dead elephant, cruelly shot or poisoned for its tusks.

“Many people in the UK have bought or inherited ivory tusks, carvings or trinkets over the years that they do not want now they understand that an elephant has died for this. We are encouraging people to surrender their unwanted ivory, whether legal or illegal, so we can ensure it is put beyond use, and so that it will not resurface on the market or help fuel further illegal poaching of elephants to satisfy consumer demand.”

The legal ivory trade often provides a smokescreen for more illegal killing of elephants and by donating unwanted ivory, IFAW believes members of the public can make a positive contribution to elephant protection. A small number of ivory items will be retained for education and publicity purposes while other donations will be immediately transferred to a secret and secure location and ultimately destroyed by the appropriate Government agency.

IFAW continues to call on the UK Government to ban ivory sales in the UK as a priority.

Mansbridge added:

“We have recently seen strong moves from China and the US to tackle their own domestic ivory markets which is to be welcomed. As a nation of animal lovers in the UK, and with the UK playing such a significant role historically in the ivory trade, it is time for us to also take a stand by saying ivory belongs to elephants and no-one else. We can see there is strong political will in the UK to make this happen, and we need action to stop the ivory trade now.”

Please click here for more information on IFAW’s ivory surrender campaign.

30 Mar

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Animal Welfare debate

March 30, 2017 | By | No Comments

At a backbench debate on animal welfare I reiterated my support for a Battersea Dogs & Cats Home campaign for tougher sentencing for animal cruelty and shared my view on the role of the RSPCA. The EFRA Committee (of which I am a member) recommended the Society should continue its work investigating animal welfare cases but withdraw as acting as prosecutor. I voted against this recommendation as the Crown Prosecution Service and Local Authorities simply do not have the resources to accept responsibility.

Follow the links to watch or read the debate in full or jump straight to my contribution here.

01 Mar

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP joins Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to demand tougher punishments for animal abusers

March 1, 2017 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick is backing a new campaign by leading animal welfare charity, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, to call for tougher punishments for people who abuse and neglect animals.

England and Wales’ unacceptably low punishments for animal abusers are some of the weakest in the Western world. Battersea has launched a major campaign calling for the maximum sentence for severe animal cruelty offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to be raised to five years in prison, which is common elsewhere.

Under the current law in England and Wales, the strongest sentence for even the most depraved cases of animal cruelty is just six months in prison – the lowest such sentence in Europe, the United States and Australia. Prison sentences for offences such as fly-tipping or theft are much higher.

Attending the launch of the campaign in the Houses of Parliament, Jim pledged his support to increase sentences for animal abusers.

The Poplar and Limehouse MP said:

“It is unacceptable that people can abuse and neglect animals and get away with such a small penalty. Battersea’s research shows England and Wales have the lowest sentences for cruelty across 100 countries and states worldwide. Six months in prison is neither a punishment nor a deterrent when it comes to some of the most serious offences. I’m standing up for animals by supporting this campaign and calling for tougher penalties.”

Like many animal welfare charities, Battersea cares for the victims of cruelty and neglect, with many making remarkable recoveries under the care of the charity’s Veterinary team. These include Tiger, a tabby cat brought into Battersea on 25 January. Concerned about his condition, the Veterinary team rushed him into X-ray, where it was discovered he had been shot in the head at close range with an airgun. Two metal pellets were found lodged in his skull and, had they been any closer to his brain, would have proven fatal. During a delicate surgery, Battersea’s highly-trained staff were about to carefully remove the pellets without causing further damage and Tiger has recovered well from his terrible ordeal.

Claire Horton, Battersea’s Chief Executive, said:

“It isn’t acceptable that our courts are unable to hand out tougher sentences in such extreme animal cruelty cases, yet the likes of fly-tipping can result in prison sentences of up to five years. Let’s get this into proportion and let the punishment for abusing animals truly fit the crime.”

18 Jan

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Animal welfare organisations and MPs unite to call on the government to improve Greyhound welfare

January 18, 2017 | By | No Comments

Angela Smith MP hosted a drop in session on Greyhound welfare with welfare members of the Greyhound Forum.

MPs this week attended a House of Commons event organised by a number of animal welfare organisations to discuss the grave and pressing need to improve Greyhound welfare in the UK. 19 MPs, including Jim Fitzpatrick MP for Poplar and Limehouse, attended the session in Westminster, hosted by Angela Smith MP together with the welfare members of the Greyhound Forum, in support of stronger regulation to protect racing Greyhounds. The Forum’s nine welfare organisations united to share their disappointment over the Government’s inaction to amend the 2010 Regulations to the detriment of the welfare of racing Greyhounds involved in the sport. The welfare members are calling on the Government to take the following actions:

Publish essential welfare data relating to injury, euthanasia and rehoming numbers as soon as possible.

Extend the 2010 Regulations to cover trainers’ kennels.

Apply greater pressure to bookmakers to ensure they invest a fair reflection of their profits into welfare.

Welfare organisations believe that approximately 3,500 Greyhounds are unaccounted for every year in the UK, but as statistics are not currently published by the industry the true scale of the problem is difficult to assess.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP said:

“Animal welfare is an important issue amongst my constituents and as an animal lover myself believe it is essential that welfare is prioritised in the industry. I was interested to hear the concerns surrounding the industry and along with the welfare members of the Greyhound Forum I’m calling for more to be done to safeguard Greyhound welfare.”

Clarissa Baldwin, Chair of the Greyhound Forum explains:

“We are delighted to see the support of so many MPs. It goes to show that Greyhound welfare is high on the agenda for MPs and their constituents. As so many of us consider ourselves a nation of animal lovers it’s outrageous that so little is being done by our Government to ensure that welfare in the industry is prioritised. The welfare members of the Forum are calling for regulations to be amended to require the publication of essential welfare data relating to injury, euthanasia and rehoming. The Government will rely on a non-regulatory agreement with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain to publish statistics from 2018. We also see no justification for the data not to be published until 2018. We hope MPs will work with us to put pressure on the Government to treat the grave issue of Greyhound welfare with the urgency and severity it deserves.”

15 Dec

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Westminster Hall Debate: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

December 15, 2016 | By | No Comments

I took part in the EFRA debates in Westminster Hall. Following reports from the committee and the government response debates were held on the following topics…

Air Quality: I again raised the issue of the Enderby Wharf cruise ship terminal and the decision to allow Greenwich council to approve the project despite the effect on air pollution it would have on residents of Tower Hamlets and much of London.

You can watch or read the debate in full and for more information please click here.

Greyhound Welfare: I spoke about the need for more to be done to improve standards at kennels and called on the Government to release data on track injuries. Much has been achieved in improving greyhound welfare but an estimated 3000-4000 dogs are still being euthanised every year.

You can watch and read the debate in full and for more information please click here.

09 Dec

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Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick joins in feline festivities at Parliamentary reception

December 9, 2016 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick joined other politicians at a parliamentary reception to celebrate the work of Cats Protection and help the charity come up with names for unwanted cats that come into its care.

The event, held at the House of Commons, was hosted on the charity’s behalf by Sheryll Murray MP to highlight its work in campaigning on issues affecting cat welfare in the UK. Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity, helping around 200,000 cats every year through a network of over 250 voluntary-run branches and 32 centres.

The charity’s Advocacy Manager Jacqui Cuff said:

“Cats are one of the nation’s favourite pets so it was wonderful to welcome so many politicians to discuss how we can improve feline welfare in the UK.

“Sadly, despite their popularity, we see huge numbers of cats and kittens coming into our care every year. Cats Protection works tirelessly to tackle the root of the problem, by promoting neutering and offering advice and information on responsible cat ownership.

“This year we have also launched our True Cost of Kittens campaign to highlight a growing kitten breeding industry which frequently puts profit before welfare. As part of this campaign, we’ve been calling for a change in the law to better protect kittens and breeding cats from poor breeding practices that frequently lead to serious health issues.

“Throughout the year, we have been asking MPs for their help in pushing forward these changes which will greatly improve the welfare of cats in the UK. So this Christmas, we thought we’d ask them to get involved in one of the more creative and fun areas of our work – coming up with names for the cats in our care.

“There’s been some lovely suggestions and we’ll be choosing our seven favourites – one for every day of the week – which will be used for cats that come into our care during the New Year.”

To find out more about Cats Protection’s advocacy work, please visit: www.cats.org.uk/speakingupforcats.

 

01 Dec

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Dogs Trust celebrates 125 year anniversary at House of Commons Reception

December 1, 2016 | By | No Comments

 

This week Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, invited a host of MPs and Peers to celebrate its 125th anniversary at its annual House of Commons reception hosted by Neil Parish MP and attended by Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse.

Dogs Trust, or the National Canine Defence League (NCDL) as it was formerly known, was founded in 1891 by socialite Lady Gertrude Stock and a small group of fellow dog lovers. Dedicated solely to helping ‘protect dogs from torture and ill usage of every kind’ the charity has been instrumental in campaigning for dog welfare for the past 125 years.

From its early years campaigning against the widespread use of dogs for vivisection and the persecution of stray dogs following rabies scares, to opening shelters for stray dogs and most recently, successfully campaigning to make microchipping compulsory in England, Scotland and Wales, Dogs Trust has long championed the cause of the nation’s four-legged friends – something it continues to do to this very day.

With 125 years of successful animal welfare campaigning under its belt, Dogs Trust is now looking to the future, and to help raise awareness of the issues the charity will be focusing on over the next year, MPs and Peers were invited to pose for a photo in the ‘driving seat’ of a 1920’s Dogs Trust animal ambulance. Seventy-two MPs and Peers came along to take the wheel of the retro ride, and pledge their support to Dogs Trust as it continues on the road to driving change for dogs over the next year and beyond. Lord Gardiner also spoke at the event highlighting some of the improvements to be made in dog welfare over the next 12 months.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP for Poplar and Limehouse said:

“I am very pleased to support Dogs Trust in raising awareness of the current issues facing the nation’s dogs. Dog welfare is something I feel very strongly about, and I commend the incredible efforts Dogs Trust has gone to in a bid to improve the lives dogs across the country over the past 125 years. I pledge to help do my bit to drive change for dogs over the next 12 months and beyond.”

Adrian Burder, Dogs Trust CEO, says:

“Over the coming 12 months one of the main focuses for Dogs Trust will be the issue of irresponsible breeding. There is currently little to no enforcement on the breeding and sale of dogs in the UK and this is something which needs to change.

“Looking forward, Dogs Trust is calling for a registration and licensing system to ensure better enforcement and traceability of anyone breeding, selling or transferring the ownership of dogs. We believe that anyone selling a single dog or a single litter should be registered with their Local Authority and that anyone breeding two or more litters a year should be licensed as a breeder. These measures should help give prospective puppy buyers more confidence, as well as providing local authorities with a definitive list of individuals involved in this trade.

“We are delighted that the recent EFRA Committee report has made this one of their recommendations along with a call for puppies entering the UK from abroad under the Pet Travel Scheme to be at least six months of age, a move we hope will bring about the end to illegal puppy imports. We are also encouraged that the Committee has recommended that the PAAG Minimum Standards be made mandatory for all classified websites advertising pets for sale. I hope that Government will enshrine these recommendations in law with all due speed.”

To find out more about Dogs Trust and our achievements over the past 125 years, please visit: www.dogstrust.org.uk

 

16 Nov

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EFRA Select Committee: Animal Welfare in England

November 16, 2016 | By | No Comments

The House of Commons Select Committee on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs published its report on ‘Animal Welfare in England: domestic pets.’

Some of the recommendations included the introduction of licences for breeders, stricter penalties for animal welfare abuse and a ban on third party sales of puppies.

You can read the report in full and for more information, click here.

20 Oct

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London Fire Brigade dog to receive national animal of the year award for heroic work

October 20, 2016 | By | No Comments

A 12-year-old springer spaniel whose keen sense of smell has helped London Fire Brigade investigators sniff out the cause of hundreds of suspicious fires around the Capital and beyond was recognised with a special award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at the House of Lords.

Roscoe is one of just three specially trained and highly skilled fire investigation dogs working for London Fire Brigade, and one of only a handful of dogs with this role around the UK.

With a flawless ability to identify a variety of ignitable substances, Roscoe, nicknamed ‘The Dog of Truth’, helps establish whether a fire has been started deliberately. Using his keen sense of smell, which is more accurate than man-made technology designed for the same purpose, Roscoe enables the Brigade’s Fire Investigation Team to quickly pinpoint the cause of the fire and improve the conviction rate against arsonists who endanger life with their criminal acts.

During 11 years of service, Roscoe has not missed a single day of work because of sickness or injury and has assisted at more than 600 fire scenes.

It was expected that Roscoe would be ready for retirement by the age of 10 but he continues to display such enthusiasm and energy for his work, based on the concept of play and reward, that handler Mick Boyle has allowed him to keep working while also training up his future successor, Murphy.

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said:

“Roscoe is an amazing dog whose long service sniffing out the cause of fires has helped keep Londoners safe. His fantastic partnership with handler Mick shows the special relationship between people and animals. Roscoe is a very deserving winner of IFAW’s Animal of the Year Award.”

Mick Boyle, said:

“Every single day Roscoe has never failed to amaze me; I never tire of watching him work. He always surprises me and it gives me immense pleasure and satisfaction to see him enjoying the work while finding the cause of suspicious fires and helping safeguard the community. When members of the public see him arrive at the scene of a fire and ask why he’s there I say he’s going to tell me who started the fire.

“Roscoe and the other fire investigation dogs are one of London’s best kept secrets; the heroes with dirty faces. At the age of one year Roscoe came to me to start training after being given up for rehoming by his previous owners. Immediately he hit the ground running and as a team Roscoe makes me look good!”

The Fire Service believes that the use of fire investigation dogs not only helps solve crimes, but the presence of the dogs can also act as a preventive measure (when arsonists become aware of their skills in pinpointing crimes), as well as a reassurance to the local community. Roscoe’s attendance at suspicious scenes has even led to confessions from those responsible.

London Fire Brigade’s fire investigation dogs are all equipped with Personal Protective Equipment to keep them safe at work, including boots that protect their paws from shards of glass or other sharp objects. They are never sent into active fires or scenes of heat and no fire investigation dog has ever been injured on duty.

Because of Roscoe’s reluctance to slow down and stop working, Mick is planning a very gradual shift towards retirement for him later in the year to ensure he does not become bored. He will live out his days in comfort with Mick and his other dogs, and for the foreseeable future will continue to assist with other duties he also excels at and enjoys; meeting the public at fire safety open days and events.

Mick added:

“Roscoe also just loves people and being made a fuss of. He has taken part in dozens of events with the public, especially as part of this year’s 150th anniversary of London Fire Brigade, and he makes a point of moving round the crowd and greeting every single person, hoping to get attention. Lots of people who are usually fearful of dogs, especially children, comment that they have no fear of Roscoe.

“We will definitely let him keep doing things like this as long as he wants to; he is such an active dog that he needs a hobby in his retirement!”

Roscoe, accompanied by Mick, received his award at IFAW’s prestigious Animal Action Awards event, hosted by Baroness Gale and presented by TV wildlife presenter Bill Oddie at the House of Lords on October 18.

28 Sep

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Poplar & Limehouse MP backs new campaign targeting the cruel UK puppy trade

September 28, 2016 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick MP has lent his support to a new public awareness campaign launched by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to target the growing problem of the illicit and cruel UK puppy trade.

The puppy industry is booming, but with many UK breeders and puppy smugglers across Europe producing puppies solely for profit, all too often these animals suffer serious illness or behavioural problems later in life. Others, sadly, do not survive.

IFAW has devised a useful guide, P.U.P.S, for anyone looking to buy a puppy, to ensure they know what to look for to avoid buying an unhealthy, possibly puppy farmed animal.

Jim Fitzpatrick said:

“I am very pleased to support this important IFAW campaign to help make people aware of the potential pitfalls before buying a puppy which may have been farmed in squalid conditions and taken from its mother too soon, before it is eight weeks of age.

“It is terrible to think of these puppies being transported a great distance by dealers with little or no thought for their health or welfare. The mothers suffer greatly too, being made to produce litter after litter of puppies until they have outlived their usefulness. I encourage everyone to remember P.U.P.S.”

Parent – Is the puppy with its mum?

Underage – Has the puppy reached the legal age for sale?

Papers – Are all of the puppy’s papers available and in order?

Sickness – Is the puppy healthy and energetic?

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said:

“We are very grateful for Jim Fitzpatrick’s support for our campaign. As a nation of dog lovers, none of us wants to be part of the cruel puppy industry. I am sure people will be shocked to find out that many much-loved pet dogs in the UK have suffered a horrible start in life with ill effects that may last through their lifetime.

“In the worst scenarios, owners suffer too when their much-loved puppy quickly gets sick and dies. This is the reality of the heartless UK puppy trade. IFAW always advocates adopting a happy and healthy puppy or dog in need of a home from your local shelter. But for those who wish to buy from a breeder, we believe our P.U.P.S campaign arms people with the information they need to make the right choice.”

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP