THE first political letter I wrote, as a child, was to my local MP to object to foxhunting – and I feel as strongly now as I did then about all animal welfare issues!

I’m therefore delighted that Labour is to launch a consultation on our new UK Animal Welfare Plan, which promises radical action by looking to introduce a ban on the live export of animals for slaughter; consult landlords on giving tenants the right to keep a pet; strengthen the Hunting Act; enshrine the principal of animal sentience in law; end the badger cull (which of course we did not have in Wales thanks to the Welsh Labour Government); implement a review of animal testing; and expand affordable vet care for people on low incomes.

A new UK Animal Welfare Commissioner would also ensure animal welfare standards are always considered in new legislation, and are maintained in Britain’s involvement in international bodies and post-Brexit trade deals.

The proposals have been endorsed by the League against Cruel Sports, Compassion in World Farming and WWF.

Simply put, the future of animal welfare has never looked as uncertain as under this government, with its chaotic, race-to-the bottom Brexit. Too often animal welfare policy is dictated by ‘campaign of the month’ and is haphazard and piecemeal in approach.

Our Animal Welfare Plan sets out an ambitious vision for excellence in farm animal welfare with a plan to end out-dated practices that severely restrict natural animal behaviour.

Labour’s vision is one where no animal is made to suffer unnecessary pain and degradation, and where we continue to drive up standards and practice in line with the most recent advances and understanding.

We’ve already been leading the way on devolved animal welfare issues here in Wales – and its crucial that we meet them on a UK level too.

Labour’s record on animal welfare is unparalleled - from bringing in the ban on fox hunting to tightening the rules on the transport of live animals, Labour has always been consistent in our leadership on matters of animal welfare.