Ricky Gervais urges Conservative leadership hopefuls Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to strengthen animal welfare laws

Author: Maria Chiorando

Read Time:   |  29th July 2022

Ricky and other leading celebrities have sent an open letter to the politicians, calling on them to strengthen existing animal welfare laws and pass new ones

Ricky Gervais is one of several non-vegan and vegan celebrities who have written to Conservative leadership hopefuls Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss urging them to reduce animal suffering if they become the country’s next Prime Minister.

The high-profile figures, including Chris Packham, Dame Joanna Lumley, and Paul O’Grady, have worked alongside animal charities including the RSPCA, Humane Society International/UK, and FOUR PAWS UK, to send the politicians an open letter, asking them to strengthen existing animal welfare laws, and pass more laws to protect animals from suffering.

In it, they called on Truss and Sunak for a ‘public commitment to deliver on the promises the Government made in its 2021 Action Plan for Animal Welfare, only four of which have so far been delivered’.

The letter highlights three key areas signatories want Truss and Sunak to show their commitment to.

Call to help animals

They include passing the Kept Animals Bill, which would end live animal exports for fattening and slaughter; introduce new laws to tackle low welfare puppy imports and pet abduction; and restrict the keeping of primates as pets among other measures.

The second area they’ve called for action on is legislation to protect the welfare of animals abroad suffering from the UK market. They want to see progress within the law, which would ban imports of fur and foie gras as well as hunting ‘trophies’.

Thirdly, the letter calls for certain pieces of existing legislation to be strengthened, to include compulsory cat microchipping, a ban on snares, and strengthening and extending the current laws on hunting with dogs among other measures.

Animal welfare laws

Discussing the letter, a spokesperson for the group of animal protection NGOs said: “In the year where the sentience of animals has finally been enshrined in law, we must not lose this dedication to better animal welfare in the UK.

“Animals matter to voters of all political persuasions, including the 72 per cent of Conservative voters who want more and stronger laws to protect animals.

“Ministers are constantly claiming that the UK is a world leader on animal welfare, so we’re calling on Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to set out exactly what they’ll deliver to justify that title. Showing compassion and ambition to protect vulnerable animals could tell us a lot about the sort of leader they might be.”

Do you want to help animals, but need some inspiration? Check out our list of 8 Ways To Help Animals to get started.

Feature image credit: David M. Benett/Getty Images

Written by

Maria Chiorando

Maria is an editor and journalist. Her work has been published by the Huffington Post, the Guardian, TechnoBuffalo, Plant Based News, and Kent on Sunday among other national and regional titles.

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