Major revision January 1990
Last amendment September 2021
AR100 The expansion and development of human society has inevitably affected the lives of many other species. Disruption to their lifestyles has been both accidental and deliberate and has resulted in suffering, death or even extinction. The prevailing assumption that animals can be used for any purpose that benefits humankind is not acceptable in a Green society.
AR400 As part of the Environment Commission (see PL410), a section will be set up dealing with the welfare of all animals, wild and domesticated, to oversee their treatment and make appropriate recommendations.
AR401 Local Authorities to provide a local Animal Rights Officer with adequate staff to oversee animal warden schemes, etc., and to liaise with the Animal Welfare Department of the Environment Commission.
AR403 In the UK, over a billion farm animals are slaughtered for food every year. Many of these animals are farmed intensively, kept in cramped conditions and denied the freedom to express natural behaviour. High levels of frustration, distress, injury and suffering are common and painful mutilations are routinely carried out to reduce risk of injury. Antibiotics are used routinely to prevent outbreak of disease, resulting in antibiotic resistance and threats to human and animal health. Animals are often transported long distances to slaughter and suffer inhumane conditions both during transport and at the time of slaughter. Besides the impact on animal welfare, high levels of consumption of meat, dairy and other animal products in developed countries are ecologically unsustainable and are linked to many chronic health conditions (See also FA650-FA666).
AR404 The Green Party believes that consumers have a right to easy access to enough information about the food they eat to make informed decisions about what they buy. We shall introduce legislation to enforce clear labelling on all animal-derived food products, describing how the animal lived and was killed. This coded system would include place of origin, production system (e.g. cage, broiler house, shed, enriched indoor, outdoor), transport, place of slaughter and method of slaughter (e.g. sticking only, Halal or the approved Jewish method, stun-gas, stun-gun, stun-electrical, stunning followed by sticking, post-cut stun, neck dislocation, decapitation). We shall work empathetically and respectfully with relevant medical, scientific and religious groups to bring about reduction in fear, pain and discomfort for all animals that are bred and maintained for food. This initiative will be supported by a programme of public education to maximise understanding and we will press for it to be adopted across the EU (see FA656, FA240, FA222, RR800 and RR803).
AR405 The Green Party will phase out all forms of 'factory farming' and support a transition to small free-range units, mixed rotational farming and extensive grazing (see FA660-661). We support the highest levels of animal welfare in farming and shall ensure that the ‘Five Freedoms’ listed in the Animal Welfare Act are applied to all farm animals. In particular we shall press for maximum stocking densities and appropriate environments for all farm animals in order to permit expression of natural behaviour. We shall prohibit all caged rearing of poultry, including ‘enriched cages’. We shall prohibit all painful mutilations such as beak trimming of poultry and tail docking of pigs. We shall ensure that when slaughter does take place it is done so as to cause least suffering to the animal, with due regard to species and individual animal factors, and is monitored without prejudice towards minority religious and cultural groups.
AR406 In recent decades, genetic selection has continually increased yields from farm animals, often resulting in endemic welfare problems, such as mastitis in cows and bone fractures in chickens. The Green Party will place limits on the ‘genetic yield’ of farm animals and will encourage farmers to use traditional breeds.
AR407 The Green Party will phase out routine and prophylactic use of antibiotics in farm animals. We shall maintain a ban on the use of growth hormones and imports of food from animals treated with growth hormones. We support a ban on the use of GMOs in animal feed and oppose all genetic modification of animals (See FA720 and AR420). We shall maintain a ban on the use of, and importation of products from, cloned animals and their offspring (See FA666). We shall press for EU and international rules permitting restrictions on imports from countries with lower animal welfare standards (See FA502(c)).
AR408 The Green Party will seek to minimise live transport of animals and will work through the EU and locally to end all live exports for slaughter and fattening. We shall prioritise smaller, local abattoirs, prohibit piece-rate payment of workers and otherwise improve market and slaughterhouse conditions.
AR409 Undercover footage has revealed significant animal suffering in UK slaughterhouses, including animals slaughtered for organic meat. Mandatory CCTV will be required in all slaughterhouses. This will act as a deterrent and provide evidence for animal abuse prosecutions.
AR410 Overfishing and the harmful effects of fish farming are devastating marine ecosystems. Several billion fish are killed annually to feed the UK population, often by methods causing extreme suffering, and millions of fish are kept in cruel conditions in intensive fish farms. The Green Party will work for an end to overfishing, practices harming the marine ecosystem and avoidable by-catches (see MC323-330). We shall prohibit intensive fish farming (see FA657, FA660 and MC341) and restrict the use of fishmeal for animal feed (see FA661). We shall extend the Animal Welfare Act to cover all fishing activities.
AR411 A reduction in the consumption of animal products would have benefits for the environment, human health and animal welfare. There is evidence that large-scale animal agriculture is a significant contributor to greenhouse-gas emissions, habitat destruction, pollution and loss of biodiversity. The Green Party believes it is imperative to act and will actively promote an immediate transition from diets dominated by meat and other animal products to increasingly plant-based diets and to lifestyles using environmentally sustainable products derived from non-animal sources. The aim of these measures is to conserve natural resources, free up fertile land for increased production of plant-based foods and products, increase access to healthier food options, enforce animal welfare legislation and reduce animal cruelty. We will achieve this through research, education, economic measures and reformed approaches to farming.
AR412 The Green Party will ensure that high quality, nutritionally balanced vegetarian and vegan menu options are widely available and promoted in all public sector establishments such as schools, hospitals and care facilities (see ED190, FA222, HE322). We shall ensure that catering and nutrition for vegetarian and vegan diets is included in all catering certificates and that lessons in preparing nutritious vegetarian and vegan food are included in food technology courses.
AR414 To prohibit the import, export and sale of all fur, whether wild caught or factory farmed, and to ensure a ban on fur farming in the UK stays in place. The import of other animal products such as ivory, reptile skins and whale oil, will be prohibited.
AR415 In the UK, millions of animals are used each year in experiments which can cause great pain and suffering. There are significant differences between the physiology of animals and that of humans and the reliance on animal testing and experimentation increases the risks of adverse reactions and hampers progress. A large proportion of animals are used for non-medical testing and for duplicate research which could be avoided. There are now many techniques available for testing of chemicals, drugs and medical procedures and for researching disease that do not use animals. However, these alternatives are often not used and are not adequately funded or supported.
AR416 The Green Party would ban all experimentation and research which harms animals, including harmful procedures used to obtain animal-derived materials. 'Harmful' is defined in this context as 'having the potential to cause pain, suffering, distress, lasting harm or death in animals, except where it is designed to benefit the individual animals concerned
AR417 Government research funds will be transferred from animal tests to non-animal technologies, including epidemiology, computer models, micro-dosing, imaging, DNA chips, microfluidics chips and the use of human tissue. Much greater use will be made of epidemiological evidence and clinical data. Greens would also fund more research into prevention of disease, looking at diet, environment, family history and lifestyle.
AR418 The Green Party is opposed to the harmful use in education of animals and of animal-derived materials where the animals have been killed specifically for this purpose. The Party supports the replacement of the use of animals and animal material with methods such as models, mannequins, mechanical and computer-based simulators, films and interactive videos, plant experiments and observational and field studies, and human studies including self-experimentation. The Party supports the educational use of animal cadavers and animal-derived materials where these have been ethically sourced, such as animals who have died naturally and animals who have been euthanased for humane reasons.
AR419 The Green Party is opposed to the wholesale breeding, manipulation and destruction of those animals who are chosen as companions to the human race. We will introduce measures to regulate the care and conditions for such animals including a two-tier system of dog-licensing [breeding and non-breeding], licensing of all animal breeders and dog owners, subsidised spaying and neutering, the implementation of good animal warden schemes and a prohibition on the import of exotic animals for the pet trade.
AR420 A Green Government will create a national register (similar to the ViSOR database) of convicted animal-cruelty offenders, which will work in conjunction with a compulsory licensing system for those keeping or working with animals, as defined by coverage under the Animal Welfare Act.
AR421 The Green Party will end puppy farming by banning the sale of young puppies and kittens unless the mother is present.
AR422 Patents will not be granted on any animal and strict controls will be introduced to prevent genetic manipulation for profit or curiosity. (see ST363)
AR423 Wildlife management and control in urban and domestic settings (vertebrate species). Elected Greens will seek to redefine ‘pest control’ as ‘wildlife management and control’ and acknowledge the suffering of wild animals subjected to such control to be as significant as animals in other circumstances. A Green Government will implement a wildlife management and control protocol that would ensure: (1) there is justification for control, (2) proofing and prevention has been considered as a first resort,(3) there is reasonable probability of success, (4) there is an integrated and strategic approach, (5) there is target-specificity and (6) humaneness.’
AR424 The Green Party is fundamentally opposed to all blood-sports. We oppose the killing of, or infliction of pain or suffering upon, animals in the name of sport or leisure, and will work to end all such practices.
AR425 To amend the Firearms Act to prohibit the use and private ownership of firearms and lethal weapons, such as air rifles, crossbows, etc., except on registered premises.
AR426 In view of the fact that animal acts in circuses are cruel and degrading to performer and observer alike, we will immediately prohibit the import of, and sale from other sources of, all animals to circuses. We will immediately prohibit the use of animals in circuses and will encourage the re-homing of all existing circus animals to sanctuaries or other suitable establishments with relocation to the wild wherever possible.
AR427 To abolish zoos and private collections of animals except where they are for the benefit of the animal concerned. Licences will only be granted to establishments involved in either captive breeding of endangered species for eventual return to the wild or else those offering genuine sanctuary to animals unable, through injury and other cause, to be returned to the wild and where their living conditions are as close as possible to the animal's natural habitat.
AR428 The Green Party will end the exploitation of animals in horse racing, greyhound racing and all situations where animals are commercially raced. There would be an immediate ban on the use of the whip in horse racing and in jumps racing, and on the use of a non-linear track in greyhound racing. A single regulatory authority would be put in place for each sport, tasked with establishing and enforcing strict welfare standards. There would be a requirement for full traceability of all animals involved in racing throughout their lives (using microchip technology where applicable) and full publication of injury and death statistics. These statistics would be used as evidence to close dangerous tracks and ban trainers with poor records. Breeding and import of animals for racing will be tightly regulated and monitored to improve welfare and prevent over-breeding. There would be regulation on the conditions and times of transportation of animals used in sport as well as the housing of all animals. A high level of compulsory levy would be imposed on all betting, to be used solely for welfare improvements.
AR429 The Green Party will endeavour internationally to initiate and develop an Animal Rights Division within the United Nations Organisation.
AR430 The Green Party opposes all lethal or harmful uses and treatment of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises). In particular, whaling is a premeditated, deliberate and unnecessary cause of animal suffering. It is not justified even if supposedly undertaken as 'scientific research' or 'subsistence hunting' rather than for commercial profit. It endangers the survival of various cetacean species. The Green Party condemns those governments who seek, through the International Whaling Commission and otherwise, to continue whaling. We call on all governments to outlaw whaling. The Green Party is fundamentally opposed to all lethal and harmful commercial utilisation of cetaceans. This includes all whaling, so called scientific whaling and any whaling conducted under the cover-all of 'aboriginal subsistence whaling'. The Green Party opposes any move to end the current moratorium on commercial whaling. We call on all nations to declare the waters under their control havens from whaling, to provide sanctuary throughout those waters for cetaceans, and to co-operate in achieving global sanctuary for cetaceans in the longer term.
AR431 Xenotransplantation: The Green Party would abolish research into, and the practise of xenotransplantation (the transplantation of nonhuman animal organs, genetically engineered or otherwise, into human beings). Treating nonhuman animals as "spare part" factories is both immoral and inhumane, and is therefore completely unacceptable in an ecological society. Xenotransplantation is yet another instance of corporate profit being prioritised over public health and the rights of nonhuman animals. Xenotransplantation carries the grave danger of virus transferral from nonhuman animals to humans, raising the real possibility of the unleashing of an epidemic amongst the human population.
The Green Party would promote more sensible and effective approaches to enhancing health, such as preventative health measures, increasing the pool of human donors, research into artificial organs, and the surgical repair of damaged organs.
AR432 The Green Party acknowledges the sentience of all animals of vertebrate species and cephalopod and decapod crustacean animals of invertebrate species, we will pay due regard to this throughout policy development and implementation. The Animal Sentience Precautionary Principle (ASPP) (Birch, 2017) will apply concerning the sentience of other invertebrate species until sufficient evidence is accumulated to justify their inclusion under the act.
We will enforce the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act (2006) as five rights that protect the wellbeing of all animals under human influence (including all wild animals directly or indirectly affected by human activities):
We will amend the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to protect:
These protections will apply as a trade restriction to all imported goods where these species are involved in production and will be used to prohibit any abuse of our animal population.
Birch, J. (2017) ‘Animal sentience and the precautionary principle’, Animal Sentience, 017017, pp. 1–15. Available at: http://animalstudiesrepository.org/animsent/guidelines.html.
AR433: Wild, domesticated and companion animals suffer greatly from the fear of loud fireworks, and danger from other fire-bearing items such as paper lanterns which are released outside. People suffer too. These items can be a danger, cause noise pollution, and generate air pollution and litter nuisance for all. Greens in government would ban the outside release of lit paper lanterns and restrict firework sales and use to Council-approved and licensed displays that are well-advertised and carefully sited. These displays will only use Quiet Fireworks with a maximum peak noise intensity of 70 decibels (70dBC). Fireworks must be responsibly packaged and accurately labelled for noise and likely distance travelled. This is to ensure public safety and to allow animal owners to predict (and therefore mitigate) effects on their animals. District councils will allow 10 days a year for displays, the dates to be agreed after local public consultation, and accommodate festivals for the whole community
Animal Rights Policy Chapter Updates
January 2018 - AR403 updated by Policy Development Committee to reflect facts.
April 2017 - new AR420, with additional phrasing "as defined by coverage under the Animal Welfare Act" added under the instruction of Spring Conference 2017; new AR423
Spring 2021 new AR433
The following additional policy statements can be found in the Green Party Record of Policy Statements (RoPS) for Animal Rights available here:
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