BRADSHAW COMES UP TRUMPS FOR ANGLERS OVER ANIMAL WELFARE BILL
Britain's 3.9 million anglers have been given another early Christmas present by fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw when he announced last week that angling would be specifically excluded from the provisions of the Animal Welfare Bill. There had been some concern that the Bill could inadvertently affect angling and commercial fishing and lead to legal challenges.
Giving evidence on the27th October 2004 to the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee Mr Bradshaw said:-
"...on fishing and angling, there has been concern expressed that the Bill will threaten commercial fishing and angling. It is not our intention to do that but in response to those representations we do propose to exempt specifically these activities from prosecutions under the cruelty and welfare offence."
Mr Bradshaw's clarification followed strong lobbying from Reading West MP Martin Salter who is also Parliamentary Spokesman for Angling as well as from a number of angling's governing bodies.
Mr Salter said:-
"The Animal Welfare Bill is about pets and captive animals. It is not aimed at wild creatures such as fish, nor is it intended to have any impact on the sport of angling. The decision to specifically exclude angling and commercial fishing is most welcome as it will avoid the spectacle of lawyers charging fat fees to try and prove that a fish caught on the end of a fishing line or placed in a keepnet is in fact some sort of temporary pet."
"Ben Bradshaw has been as good as his word in ensuring that anglers have nothing to fear from the Animal Welfare Bill. This Labour government has proved a strong supporter of angling - not just in words but in actions."
Dr Bruno Broughton, Technical Director of the Angling Trades Association, also welcomed the announcement:
"Anglers and fisheries interests will be relieved that they cannot now be inadvertently caught by the Bill's provisions. The Minister should be congratulated that he has again demonstrated the Government's strong support for angling. The Bill still has to be debated and passed by the House of Commons, of course, so we must remain both confident and vigilant".
His words were echoed by Paul Knight, Director of the Salmon & Trout Association:
"We are delighted that the Minister has been able to clarify that angling and fisheries will indeed be excluded from the Bill. This will reassure our members of the Government's continued commitment to angling in acknowledgement of the sport's socio-economic and environmental importance."
EFTTA are delighted with this news as it will directly benefit their UK members.
For more information please contact:
Jan Kappel, Secretary-General
European Anglersī Alliance (EAA) 42 Rue du Parnasse B-1050 Brussels Belgium