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Main parties mum on animal NGO proposals

The two main political parties are making no promises to animal rights campaigners yet, but Alternattiva Demokratika says it is “totally in synch” with the goals of animal rights’ NGOs.

The Animal Rights Coalition recently sent a paper to the political parties with 19 action points for inclusion in the electoral manifestos. The paper called for an end to animal circuses, zoos and the importation of exotic and dangerous animals. The group also called for the hunting season to be brought to an end as soon as illegalities occur.

The Sunday Times contacted the three political parties for their reaction to the proposals but the two big parties replied vaguely.

The Nationalist Party replied curtly by saying: “The proposals will be considered by the group in charge of drawing up the manifesto.” It did not specify who formed part of this group, even when asked.

The Labour Party replied with a similarly generic quote from Gino Cauchi, spokesman on animal welfare, who said the party was discussing these topics with NGOs.

“Most of the proposals for the animal welfare sector listed in the Animal Rights Coalition’s proposals have already been the subject of discussions held between the Labour Party and animal welfare NGOs in separate meetings.”

But AD chairman Michael Briguglio placed his party firmly behind the Animal Rights Coalition’s proposals.

“We agree with what they said about animal circuses, zoos and exotic animals. In fact, most of these points are already in our manifesto. We are also the only party in favour of the abolition of hunting in spring, in line with the Birds Directive,” Dr Briguglio said.

He pointed out that hunting would probably be the most contentious issue for the big political parties.

“We agree that if there are infringements, proper action needs to be taken, but the other parties are not so keen. The Government’s level of enforcement has been poor, while the Labour Party has MEP John Attard Montalto constantly backing the hunters’ federation,” he said.

Dr Briguglio added that his party’s manifesto would have a specific chapter on animal rights and animal welfare and AD would be “amending” its manifesto to include those points raised by the Animal Rights Coalition which were not yet included.

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