The petition of residents of Hornsey and Wood Green,
Declares that the future of the wood green Animals Shelter should be safeguarded; notes the significant and long lasting history of the shelter and the charity in the community; further notes the current Charity are seeking to close the shelter in the near future; further notes that a public petition by residents across the UK, organised by Catherine West MP and local residents, has attracted over 2000 signatures in support of safeguarding the future of the shelter.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to press upon Wood Green, the Animals Charity, to stay in the Wood Green Area and maintain the operation of the shelter, and to safeguard its long-term position.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Catherine West, Official Report, 3 March 2020; Vol. 672, c. 806.]
Observations from The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (George Eustice):
Thank you for presenting a petition in Parliament on 3 March about the closure of Wood Green Animal Shelter
The Government recognise the good work animal rescue charities do in rehoming animals. We are committed to improving animal welfare, and we have made good progress. We have introduced a ban on wild animals in travelling circuses, and created one of the world’s toughest ivory bans. We have banned the commercial third party sale of puppies and kittens and introduced mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses. Additionally, we will consult on banning keeping primates as pets, banning hunting trophies and banning the live export of animals for slaughter and fattening. We have also updated the licensing schemes for dog breeding, pet selling, animal boarding, riding schools and exhibiting animals. The Government is supporting the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill, currently before Parliament, which will increase the maximum custodial penalty for animal cruelty from six months’ imprisonment to five years’ imprisonment.
The Government maintain a good working relationship with animal welfare stakeholders, both directly and through the canine and feline sector group (CFSG), an umbrella organisation which represents a number of key stakeholders including animal welfare, industry and veterinary organisations, including Wood Green animal shelter, and which acts as a conduit of information from the cat and dog welfare field directly to the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England. This keeps us informed about issues as they arise.
We have been in contact with Wood Green Animal Shelter who have explained the reasons for closing the Hornsey branch. Wood Green aim to focus their resources on one site in Godmanchester in Hertfordshire, which is able to provide better facilities in a more cost effective way. Although Wood Green will cease to have a base in the Hornsey area they have assured me that they will continue to provide the area with an animal collection service from their base in Godmanchester. This decision was taken prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus and the associated restrictions.
Many animal rescue charities are having to take decisions that will ensure that they are able to continue caring for and rehoming animals. Wood Green are a responsible animal shelter and would not be taking decisions that would compromise the welfare of their animals. I therefore consider that Wood Green’s decision to concentrate on one location is in the best interests of the animals in their care. By continuing a collection service in the Hornsey area, there will continue to be a service for animals in need.
I am sure anyone interested in volunteering to help animals, and unable to be accommodated by Wood Green, would be welcome at any number of other animal welfare rescue and rehoming charities in the north London area.
Thank you once again for taking the time to contact the Secretary of State about this issue.