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Jim Fitzpartick
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Animal Welfare

11 Dec

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Politicians feline festive at Cats Protection’s Westminster reception

December 11, 2017 | By | No Comments

More than 60 MPs and peers joined Cats Protection at its annual Christmas parliamentary reception to celebrate the charity’s work speaking up for cats, held at the House of Commons. Cats Protection is the UK’s leading cat charity, helping around 190,000 cats every year through a network of over 250 voluntary-run branches and 34 centres.

The charity’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations Jacqui Cuff said:

“Cats are one of the nation’s favourite pets so it was wonderful to welcome so many politicians to our Christmas Reception. Our annual reception is our way of saying thank you to our elected representatives and to the many other animal welfare charities and professional organisations we work with.

“It has been a busy year with our major campaign on kitten sales, our 2022 Agenda for Cats launched ahead of the General Election, and our petition calling for licensing of air guns in England and Wales in line with the new licensing regime in Scotland.

“More than 47,000 supporters joined us in calling for better regulation of commercial kitten sales. We have also received over 75,000 signatures for our air guns petition and are delighted the Government has announced it will be reviewing air gun licensing. Sadly, air guns are frequently used to deliberately inflict harm and suffering on cats.

“All this shows that there are a lot of people who want to see real change to improve how cats are treated in the UK. It’s heartening that so many politicians came along to our reception to support Cats Protection.”

To find out more about Cats Protection’s advocacy work, please visit their website.

11 Dec

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Local MP helps dog welfare charity in fight against Puppy Smuggling

December 11, 2017 | By | No Comments


Jim Fitzpatrick MP highlights plight of smuggled puppies imported to fuel the Christmas puppy trade

Last week Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity – invited a host of MPs and Peers, including Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse to its annual House of Commons reception, where the charity – who coined the famous slogan – ‘A dog is for Life, not just for Christmas’ asked MPs for their support in the fight against Puppy Smuggling.

Dogs Trust has been investigating the problem since 2014, and through three undercover investigations has found that unscrupulous breeders take advantage of, and profit from issues with the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). As a result, underage puppies are being illegally imported into Great Britain from Central and Eastern Europe, and sold to unsuspecting members of the public.

Over the last few months, nearly 100 dogs were seized by APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) at the borders, as dealers take advantage of the increased demand for puppies in the run up to Christmas. Dogs Trust has found that of the puppies who do survive the appalling conditions they are forced to travel in, many require emergency treatment – with dehydration and malnutrition among the horrific conditions they suffer from as a result of travelling for thousands of miles in cramped conditions, with no food or water.

Thanks to quick intervention and expert care from the Puppy Pilot scheme, Dogs Trust has been able to save 94% of the puppies coming into care. 6% sadly passed away. Dogs Trust has also seen examples of heavily pregnant dogs coming into Great Britain, showing that breeders are stooping even lower to flout the system, with no regard for the welfare of the mum or her puppies.

Dogs Trust has warned that although there is a rise in puppies illegally imported during the festive season, illegally imported puppies is a huge issue all year round. The organisation has issued advice to help anyone thinking of buying a puppy, to know what to look for, in a bid to stop buyers unwittingly fuelling the trade. The charity has also issued a plea to anyone thinking of getting a dog, to do their research or consider re-homing instead.

During the event, MPs were invited to take part in a photo opportunity, showcasing the horrendous conditions puppies are smuggled in, with Dogs Trust reporting extreme cases of puppies smuggled in baskets covered with cling-film and crammed in suitcases.

Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse said:

“I’m very pleased to support Dogs Trust in raising awareness of the plight of illegally imported puppies, who suffer the most harrowing of journeys at the hands of these unscrupulous dealers.

“It’s imperative that the Government takes immediate action by enforcing proper checks at the ports and on-the-spot fines to deter these breeders and dealers, as well as introducing revised legislation as a priority when the UK leaves the EU. We really hope this will help to effectively regulate pet travel.”

Adrian Burder, Dogs Trust CEO, said:

“It’s a shame that we still have to remind people of our slogan, ‘A dog is for Life, not just for Christmas’ nearly 40 years on from its creation. We always encourage responsible re-homing, but as we’ve seen, dealers will go to great lengths to dupe innocent people, making it increasingly difficult for people to spot an illegally smuggled puppy.

“Over the next 12 months, we will continue to push for proper enforcement at UK borders. We will also continue our Puppy Pilot scheme, which rescues puppies seized at borders, funds their quarantine and re-homes them responsibly. So far, this scheme has saved more than 600 puppies.

“We can’t thank Jim Fitzpatrick MP enough for his support, and we look forward to continuing to work together to tackle this issue, and make some much needed improvements in 2018 and when we leave the EU.”

16 Sep

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP pledges his support for elephants

September 16, 2017 | By | No Comments

Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick is supporting urgent calls from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for greater protection for elephants which are being decimated for the ivory trade.

Elephant populations are at an all-time low with the species facing extinction due to the ivory poaching crisis which is killing at least 20,000 elephants each year.

Jim attended IFAW’s Westminster launch of a new report on the illegal ivory trade across Europe, (Ivory seizures in Europe, 2006-2015), which found that the European Union is still a destination for illegal ivory, a major transit route between countries and a key exporter of antique ivory to South East Asian markets.

IFAW is calling for a UK ban on the ivory trade as well as a European-wide ban. It is also running an ivory surrender, with members of the public 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 the iconic elephant from the threat of extinction.

Jim said:

“I’m very pleased to support IFAW’s campaign to increase protection for elephants as a matter of urgency. I also encourage members of the public to stand up for elephants by rejecting ivory which should only be valued on a live elephant.

“IFAW’s research shows that the UK and Europe as a whole do play a role in the illegal ivory chain and reinforces the need for an ivory ban here in the UK and right across Europe to close these markets and help save elephants in the wild.”

New polling recently released by IFAW revealed 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.

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said:

“We thank Jim for his valuable support for our campaign. The legal ivory trade often provides a smokescreen for more illegal killing of elephants. As a nation of animal lovers it is clear that most people in the UK have already rejected ivory as something they wish to own, recognising more and more that every piece of ivory represents a dead elephant.

“Similarly, we are heartened by the strong political will to increase protection for elephants. However, with time running out for these animals we need the Government to announce an ivory trade ban now. With the UK’s largest ivory seizure to date in 2015 at Heathrow Airport weighing an incredible 110 kilos, it is clear the UK plays a significant role in the illegal ivory trade, as well as the legal trade.”

Defra is expected to announce a consultation on a UK ivory ban in the very near future and IFAW will be asking Members of Parliament to respond to the consultation to establish the most effective ban possible. China and the US have both recently made strong moves to tackle their own domestic ivory markets.

Anyone wishing to donate ivory items to IFAW’s ivory surrender is asked to post them to: Campaigns Department, International Fund for Animal Welfare, 87-90 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7UD. For queries or large items, email info-uk@ifaw.org, call 020 7587 6700 or visit www.ifaw.org

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

 

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