There are many controversies surrounding farmed animals. Although the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 was implemented to protect their rights, many people believe the policies under it are inadequate. The Green Party in particular has been extremely vocal in their opinion of the current farmed animal welfare legislation, and their plans to change it should they hold a position of power. The public recognition of the importance of animal rights has meant the demand for more effective and detailed legislation relating to the care of farmed animals has risen.
Factory farming in particular has been and still is a contentious issue. The conditions the animals are kept in have been heavily criticised as abusive and cruel, the argument being the enclosures are too small for the size and amount of animals being contained in them. Similar issues have been highlighted about the conditions animals have to travel in on the way to abattoirs, and the suffering they endure before slaughter. Many activists have called for the introduction of CCTV cameras in slaughterhouses, because of reports that the animals experience abuse at the hands of staff. These are just some of the many issues.
The subject of animal testing has also been brought into the spotlight. The Green Party claim that not much has been provided to fund alternative drug testing, and testing on animals fails to yield accurate results because of the difference between animal and human disease. Also, some have wanted to see the ban on fur farming extended to prevent people from being able to buy fur in the UK, which is still legal. They argue that animals farmed for their fur overseas are subjected to cruelty because of the methods used to obtain it. Furthermore, it encourages the capturing and killing of endangered species such as tigers.
Policies introduced under the coalition stress that the welfare of all farmed animals must be protected, and they should not experience unnecessary distress or suffering. Although current legislation stresses the importance of farmed animals being free from ‘hunger and thirst’, ‘discomfort’, ‘pain, injury or disease’, ‘fear and distress’ and able to freely ‘express normal behaviour’, many have called for a more drastic change following evidence of continuing animal cruelty. The Green Party pledges ‘to phase out all forms of “factory farming”’, and has emphasised the need for CCTV in slaughterhouses, amongst the introduction of many other policies. Although the Conservatives and Labour have outlined new proposals concerning animal welfare during the election, none appear as detailed as the Green Party’s pledges to improve farmed animal welfare.