Conservative or Labour? Who's Best Placed To Protect The Environment? - Veggie Athletic
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Conservative or Labour? Who’s Best Placed To Protect The Environment?

Written by Nat Wallis

As the election campaigns cone to an end, it’s becoming clear which parties could put the nails in the coffin of both the local, national and international environment.

We’ve been able to identify traits and trends throughout their rhetoric, and now party manifestos have confirmed it.

Within the spectrum of protecting the environment, there a number of key concerns to maintain a vibrant, healthy and sustainable future for the natural world.

Before we get started, we must remember the previous Conservative Government promised to be the ‘greenest Government ever’.

Pollution has risen, green spaces declined, flood spending decreased, noise pollution increased and investment into renewable energy slowed.

Tomorrow the UK will decide who leads their country. This will look at the most important topics surrounding the environment and the most prominent vegan issues.

Air Pollution

Conservatives
Let’s begin with the Conservatives. They’ve attempted to guide the nation through perhaps the most decisive environmental age to date. We’ve come out the other side in a weak position with regards to the country’s air quality.

Throughout recent years, we have witnessed some of the worst pollution rates in Europe. London regularly sees it’s air quality reach illegal levels. Shockingly, in 2017 we exceeded the annual pollution limit in just five days.

January, typically one of the best months for pollution rates, left London covered in a blanket of thick smog.

The laws have been set in place, however, the Conservative Government continues to ignore it and thrust the UK’s air quality into further turmoil.

During the Conservative government, we have seen little investment in renewable energy sources. Pollution maps highlight a stark contrast between pollution rates and the amount of funding the national government puts into renewable energy sources.

Perhaps London should follow Paris. Rules are now in place for new buildings to be built with either a roof garden or solar panels.

The Conservatives make very little comment in relation to the environment throughout their manifesto and make no acknowledgement of the rising rates of air pollution throughout the country.

They do, however, claim they will plant 1 million more trees to tackle air pollution rates.

Labour
On the contrary, Labour discusses the environment extensively in their 2017 manifesto. They plan on introducing a Clean Air Act to provide further protection against the rapidly increasing pollution rates, both in the countryside and in cities.

The Clean Air Act will enable the United Kingdom to reduce air pollution rates back to legal levels.

Alongside this, they also pledge to plant an additional 1 million more trees to further aid the quality of air in the UK.

Winner: Labour

Animal Welfare and Hunting

Conservatives
While animal welfare standards have been increasing in both the UK and the rest of the world, it’s obvious that significantly more needs to be done in order to protect both domestic animals and wild animals throughout the environment.

If you take a look at the Conservatives’ manifesto, you might be surprised to learn that they plan to implement a number of needed changes.

They pledge to introduce further reforms on pet sales and licensing, while also introducing the mandatory inclusion of cameras in slaughterhouses. While we would like to see the total ban of slaughterhouses, this is a step in the right direction.

The Conservatives aren’t the first to have an idea like this, France implemented the law earlier this year.

That’s where it ends. They finish their short section on animal welfare by mentioning that they will allow a free vote in the House of Commons on the future of the Hunting Act.

Theresa May recently stated she would support a reintroduction of fox hunting. A barbaric, old-fashioned activity that hunters attempt to brand a ‘sport’.

This inevitably sparked a large amount of outrage with one protester being assaulted and wrongfully arrested by the police while exercising his right to a peaceful protest during one of Theresa May’s rallies.

It must be added that Theresa May also appointed Andrea Leadsom as the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Andrea Leadsom is the MP who famously had to ask if climate change was actually real before taking up her position within the cabinet and she also believes that all forms of hunting should be reintroduced.

As many people would agree, this is far from someone who should be in charge of the environment.

Labour
On the other hand, Labour takes a firm approach to animal welfare, dedicating half a page to the subject. Labour will increase the sentence for those charged with the act of animal cruelty, providing a far greater deterrent for offenders.

They will also introduce a complete ban on neonicotinoids to help our already suffering bee population as soon as the EU relationship will allow.

One point that is very promising is their stance on ivory. Labour pledge to introduce and enforce a total ban on ivory sales, reducing the demand for ivory nationally, which will reduce the number of animals brutally killed for their tusks and horns.

Ivory recently made the news when Rakuten, the world’s largest dealer of ivory, struck a shirt sponsorship deal with Barcelona.

Furthermore, Labour will also end the use of wild animals in circuses throughout the country. Wild animals in circuses are often beaten and abused in order for them to behave correctly throughout shows.

Labour further pledge to ensure that badger culling stops for good. Badger culling has been introduced into certain areas of the UK after the Conservatives claimed it would help to reduce the rate of bovine TB.

However, since the cull has been active, the number of TB-infected badgers has in fact increased, showing that the cull has no impact.

Along with that, Labour differs strongly with the Conservatives on their stance to hunting. Labour introduced the ideas of ending fox hunting, deer hunting and hare coursing.

They pledge to uphold these bans and continue to enforce the law for those found in breach of it.

It’s worth also noting that the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is Sue Hayman. Sue Hayman is someone who is aware of the risks of climate change and firmly supports the ban of hunting across the board.

Winner: Labour

Further Significant Points of Interest

Conservatives

  • Have no dedicated section for the environment within their manifesto.
  • Will support further reforms and implementation for rubbish collection and recycling.
  • Attempt to improve natural flood defence spending. (However, since the Conservatives have been in power, we have seen flood defence spending decline significantly.)
  • Will allow fracking in national parks and areas of outstanding beauty.

Labour

  • Will safeguard species in the ‘blue belt’ surrounding the UK to maintain and increase biodiversity.
  • Provide strict targets for water bottle recycling schemes.
  • Will work with manufacturers and food producers to significantly reduce waste from packaging.
  • Will plant a further 1 million more trees throughout ‘green belts’ to improve land-based biodiversity.
  • Will keep forests public and stop privatisation.

In my opinion, if you care about the environment, about the animals, about your health or are vegan there’s only one party you should vote for tomorrow.

That’s Labour. No one (except the Greens) are more willing to protect the environment and all things we care about.

No one (except the Greens) are more willing to protect the environment and all things we care about.

About the author

Nat Wallis

Nat comes from a background of cycling and fitness. After eating a regular diet for most of his life, he came accross the vegan lifestyle 3 years ago and has never looked back. Nat considers himself an animal activist, environmentalist and keen cyclist, while promoting the vegan lifestyle along the way.

He's now a registered personal trainer, gym instructor and currently working his way towards a Sport, Fitness and Coaching degree.

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