More than 30 animal advocacy charities signed an open letter urging the UK government to rethink a new law that could see tighter restrictions on protests.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill 2021 has already passed its second reading since being unveiled this year. However, it’s faced kickback nationwide.
Fears are that the bill will impede progress for animal welfare legislation.
Among the coalition behind the letter is Advocates For Animals, which is the UK’s ‘first’ animal protection law firm.
The charity is concerned the new bill will quash protests. Moreover, it says some of the most progressive animal protection legislation was only enacted as a result of peaceful protests.
This includes bills to ban fox hunting, fur farming, and wild animal circuses.
In a statement sent to Plant Based News, founder Edie Bowles stressed the importance of the fight.
She said: “There are many examples of animal protection laws that have been won as a result of various forms of protest that draw the public’s attention.
“This bill could impede efforts by animal protection groups to spare suffering by removing the fundamental safeguard to share what is going on.”
The bill aims to give police increased powers to tackle ‘highly disruptive’ protests. It will mean police will be able to set limits on noise and impose fines of up to £2,500.
Additionally, it will mean police are able to impose start and finishing times. Many have branded it a threat to free speech.
The open letter reads: “Animals already do not have standing in our courts, so to muffle their mouthpiece in a public arena only puts these vulnerable beings further at risk.”
It lists concerns the bill is too ‘vague’ and calls on members of parliament to vote against it.
It follows a slew of Extinction Rebellion protests which successfully brought London to a standstill in 2019.
You can find out more about Advocates for Animals here