Over the last year, we’ve all become more aware how we share London with so many animals, from the companions that live in our home, to the wildlife that enriches our city.
If elected Mayor, I will ensure that there are adequate resources for the Metropolitan Police Wildlife Crime Unit which supports the investigation and detection of cruel and ecologically damaging trade in wild animals and wildlife products.
We will also set up a new Habitat Crime Unit. This dedicated team will exist to tackle more serious ecological and wildlife crimes, including the prevention and investigation of pollution, destruction of habitats, and fly tipping in green spaces.
In 2019-20, London was the region of England which had by far the most instances of fly tipping as measured by incidents per 1000 people. In August 2020, Green Party AM Caroline Russell revealed that instances of fly tipping in London went up nearly 400 per cent under the first lockdown.
Over the summer, the Woodland Trust laid out the damage to nature which flytipping can cause, including changes to soil composition, damages to watercourses, and deaths and injuries among animal population who can become trapped or wounded by discarded rubbish.
Real action must be taken to stop this environmental degradation. The Habitat Crime Unit will be part of the Metropolitan Police, with the power and resources to police and enforce wildlife laws in London.
This is just one thing I will do to protect the animals of London, from domestic companion animals, to wildlife. Other measures I will take as Mayor include resisting culls of urban animal populations, working with institutions to eradicate animal testing, and campaigning for an end to the fur trade in London.
From butterflies to bats to brown trout, the animals of London are as diverse, wonderful and integral to our city as its people. London will be the Greenest city in the world when I am Mayor, and that means working together to make our city a welcoming home to animals.
My upcoming manifesto will contain the following policies on animals:
- A Green Mayor and Assembly Members will continue to ensure adequate resources for the Metropolitan Police Wildlife Crime Unit, supporting the investigation and detection of cruel and ecologically damaging trades in wild animals and animal products.
- We will strongly resist calls for any cull of urban foxes and other animal populations posing a concern. We will discourage growth in numbers, for example, we will work to get fast food waste off the streets by making shops take more responsibility, and use any new waste powers and strategies for more consistent recycling to make sure street bins and waste containers provided to households are secure against fox and seagull scavenging
- We will ensure that the rules around puppy selling, as set out in “Lucy’s Law”, are properly enforced and ensure action is taken against people selling animals illegally.
- We will support the rights of renters to keep pets and work to expand school and community based education programmes on responsible pet ownership.
- We will only use humane, non-lethal pest control methods where animal populations are controlled on GLA property.
- A Green Mayor will lobby boroughs, the Royal Parks and other landowners to ban any animal circuses not just for wild animals as new national laws now require.
- We will make sure all purchasing across the GLA group of organisations conforms to strict ethical rules, including non-animal tested cleaning products.
- We will engage with universities and the wider science and knowledge sectors in London to make London a world centre for non animal biomedical research. We will encourage all establishments in London that conduct research using animals to publicly commit to replacing animal experiments with humane alternatives, reducing animal numbers and suffering and improving animal welfare.
- We will reduce the use of meat and dairy produce in catering procurement decisions across the GLA and in the wider London catering industry. Animal welfare will remain a concern whenever meat, milk or eggs are used, and we will bring in policies across the GLA for the use of only organic, higher welfare products. We will conduct research in City Hall to monitor and report on which of London’s schools, hospitals and prisons offer healthy vegetarian and vegan options, and offer advice and support to increase these options and reduce meat consumption across the public sector.
- Our new advertising policies for Transport for London will help people choose a diet based more on sustainably grown plant products and avoid mass-produced animal products that take little account of health and animal welfare.
- We will promote a cruelty-free economy and cruelty free practices, and advocate for clear food labelling on welfare practices, and that especially and inherently cruel foods such as pâté de fois gras, are banned.
- We will campaign to end London’s fur trade, and push for London Fashion Week to remain free of fur, using the GLA’s funding of the event as a lever to persuade designers to avoid this horrific trade. We will also campaign for more councils to follow Islington’s lead in banning fur sales in its area.