The clock is ticking for the UK's General Election, and new polling results commissioned by international wildlife charity, Born Free, are sending a loud and clear message to politicians: neglect wildlife at your peril. The research serves as a stark reminder that the British public care deeply about animal issues and are fed up with current policy failings.
A staggering 76 per cent of those surveyed believe it's crucial for the next UK government to phase out the captivity of large animals like elephants, lions, tigers, giraffes, and rhinos in zoos and wildlife parks. This represents a major shift in public opinion and a wake-up call for politicians to take action on Born Free's founding principle that has been campaigned for over three decades.
The results also show that the British public wants transparency and accountability when it comes to how their money is spent. A resounding 88 per cent of those asked believe it's important for the next UK government to stop using public funds for activities that harm nature and wildlife or cause animal welfare problems.
The polling data highlights the strength of public sentiment on a range of animal welfare and wildlife issues, with a majority of respondents agreeing that:
- The next UK government should ban the import of hunting trophies from endangered or vulnerable animals (85 per cent)
- The rules on the trade and keeping of exotic pets should be tightened (83 per cent)
- The UK government should use its influence to put an end to overseas activities involving animal cruelty, such as the slaughter of dolphins in the Faroes (82 per cent)
Wildlife and the environment have been pushed down the political agenda for too long, but the British public is speaking up and demanding change. Born Free's UK Wildlife Conservation and Animal Welfare Manifesto, also released today, calls for transformative changes to wildlife policy and legislation and puts forward a compassionate and ambitious plan to prioritize wildlife protection and animal welfare. The manifesto highlights the global crisis facing wildlife and biodiversity and calls on all UK political parties to make firm, transparent, and costed commitments to:
- Improve the regulation of zoos and phase out the captivity of wild animals unsuited to captivity
- Ban the import of hunting trophies
- Ban the advertising of low welfare animal tourism activities abroad
- Strengthen the Hunting Act
- Protect wild animals from the exotic pet trade
- Eliminate the use of cruel snares and traps
- End the import and sale of animal fur in the UK, including for military use
- End the cruel and ineffective badger cull
- Use the UK's trading influence to help end the Faroe Island's grind
Born Free is urging political parties to listen to the will of the British people and adopt these priorities, showing voters that their prospective leaders are not only hearing their concerns but are willing to take action. The full list of the charity's priorities is outlined in the manifesto. It's time for nature and animal welfare to take centre stage in government and policy-making.
Will Travers OBE, Born Free’s co-founder and executive president said: “A healthy natural world is critical for our health and well-being. Healthy wildlife and healthy ecosystems also play a huge part in limiting the effects of climate change and protecting us from future pandemics. We call on all political parties to recognise the importance of protecting and restoring wildlife and wild habitats, and eliminating the negative impacts we have on the welfare of individual animals, by placing nature protection and animal welfare improvements at the heart of their manifesto commitments, and delivering on those commitments in the parliamentary sessions that will follow. Nothing less will do.”
Dr Mark Jones, Born Free’s head of policy added: “Practices in the UK such as trail hunting, the appropriation of huge tracts of land for the shooting of game birds and hares for sport, and the culling of badgers, result in animal destruction and suffering on a massive scale. Wild animals are traded and kept in zoos and private homes in ever-increasing numbers. Wildlife crime continues to have devastating impacts on individual animals, wildlife habitats, and wider society. Far too little is being done to effectively protect and restore our natural fauna and flora or safeguard the welfare of wild animals.”
Dominic Dyer, Born Free’s British wildlife advocate and policy advisor said: “As Britain negotiates new trade agreements with countries around the world it’s critically important that wildlife protection and animal welfare are key components of any negotiation process. In the case of the Faroe Islands, the public expect the Government to suspend the current free trade agreement until the brutal, merciless killing of large numbers of whales and dolphins finally ends.”