Sunday, 1 February 2015

Muir takes the fight to end animal cruelty to the new North Down and Ards Council

I took the fight to end animal cruelty across North Down and Ards to the new super Council on 22 January 2015, calling for a ban on the hunting of mammals with dogs and a ban on the use and sale of snares for the purposes of capturing or killing animals.
I brought a motion asking the new Council to write to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development urging her to bring forward immediate proposals.
The move follows the Alliance Party's on-going commitment to promoting animal welfare and opposing animal cruelty, which Alliance Councillors have fought for on a local level alongside East Belfast MP Naomi Long who has also received awards as a recognition for her hard work on the issue.
The new North Down and Ards Council has a clear opportunity to make a statement about how we value animals and see preventing cruelty as a priority.
With this in mind , it is very disappointing that some members from the DUP and UUP still choose to abstain on the issue.
A ban on hunting with dogs would bring us into line with England and Wales, where the hunting of foxes with other mammals has already been outlawed. I can't understand why all Councillors would not want the barbaric nature of this so-called sport banned.
But we must go further and outlaw the use of snares as a wildlife control technique. It is frustrating that this unnecessarily cruel technique was not already dealt with by the Minister during previous consultation.
The Alliance Party is committed to eliminating animal cruelty and will continue to work hard through a number of measures to achieve this goal. I hope all Councillors will be able to support this motion when the committee decision goes before full Council on Thursday 5 February 2015 and the Minister is able to respond at the earliest opportunity.

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