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Party Political Conference review

Party Political Conference review

| by Editor

The launch of the Party Political Conference at VegfestUK Brighton on Saturday March 28th 2015, about 6 weeks before the General Election, was a success.

The conference focuses on 3 key areas: Health, Food Sustainability and Environment, and Animal Welfare. Politicians from the UK’s major political parties were invited to present their parties’ manifestos on these areas as well as engaging in debates, with each area rounded off with questions and a vote by show of hands from the audience. 



We are delighted to have welcomed the following speakers at this conference:


Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton, opened the event by welcoming us to Brighton and acknowledging the importance of a more sustainable food culture. Her party, unlike the other 4 main parties in England, has explicit food policies around more sustainable food.






Kerry McCarthy, Labour MP for Bristol East and a vegan herself, recounted an amazing list of ways in which she was working for improvements through parliament, and also recounted some of the frustrations. For example, whilst the public would be horrified if the Energy Minister ran a big energy business, everyone seems to think that beef and dairy farmers as Defra ministers are fine.





Chris Bowers, a senior Liberal Democrat candidate who is involved in policy communication for the party, is a vegetarian and a good contact within the party on food sustainability issues.








Caroline Allen, Green Party policy spokesperson on animal issues, was a great advocate of less meat and dairy consumption and better conditions for animals.








And we’re delighted to have on board vegan punk musician John Robb who chaired the Animal Welfare section.



The Animal Welfare section was really lively with these speakers joining in:


Animal Rights scholar and author Kim Stallwood opened the Animal Welfare section with a superb commentary on Animal Rights. Since 1974, he demonstrated personal commitment and professional experience in leadership positions with some of the world’s foremost animal advocacy organisations in the UK and USA, including: Compassion In World Farming, British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and The Animals' Agenda magazine. 




Henry Smith has been MP for Crawley from 2010 and has lived in the constituency since 1994. In 1997 he was elected to West Sussex County Council and in 2003 became its Leader until entering Parliament. In the House of Commons he has been a strong advocate for a number of animal welfare issues and personally has been vegetarian for the past three decades.


Keith Taylor, MEP for the Green Party, and Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on animal welfare, has campaigned to ban all fur imports, to end cruel industrialised farming practices, and to stop the use of animals in experiments. He is also a strong advocate of the 'stop the badger cull' movement and is leading a campaign to end EU subsidies for bullfighting.





Vanessa Hudson, leader of the UK’s Animal Welfare Party, believes that ending speciesism is one of the great moral imperatives of our time and that winning political representation for animals is a crucial step in achieving that goal. Vanessa enjoys working with other animal welfare parties from around the world and takes great encouragement from the successes some of them have already enjoyed at national and EU Parliament level.





Sandwiched between the 3 sections are interactive workshops hosted by Amanda Baker, The Vegan Society’s Senior Policy Officer, which educate the public on how to talk animal-friendly solutions with their politicians.






Whoever wins the election in May, we sincerely hope that the triumvirate of green issues covered in this conference will be pushed high up the political agenda for whoever runs this country from May onwards. 

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