Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Born Free Foundation’s General Election priorities


Don’t let your political candidates forget about protecting wild animals and the natural world!

As a charity, Born Free does not endorse or support any particular political party. However, we urge our supporters to make it clear to your Prospective Parliamentary Candidates that wildlife protection and animal welfare are hugely important. These issues should be promoted by all political representatives, regardless of their party affiliations.

Born Free has compiled a set of priorities. We call on an incoming UK Government to:

  • Maintain and improve current EU regulations concerning nature and animal welfare, as we prepare to leave the EU
  • Adopt a leading role in international efforts to deal with wildlife trade and trafficking
  • Improve protection for both native and captive wildlife, against all forms of exploitation and abuse
  • Introduce wildlife and nature education into the school curriculum

Download a pdf copy here >

You can help

Please highlight these priorities to your Prospective Parliamentary Candidates at every opportunity. You can find a list of your local candidates with contact details at

In particular we urge all candidates to:

The UK and the EU

1.    Ensure the provisions of Article 13 of the European Union Treaty “The Functioning of the European Union”, recognising animal sentience and requiring the provision of high standards of animal welfare, are incorporated into relevant UK legislation and policy, and enforced throughout the United Kingdom.

2.    Ensure policies relating to environmental protection, wildlife conservation and the welfare of wild animals, both free-living and captive, here in the UK and overseas, are given a high priority as Britain prepares to leave the European Union, to demonstrate our international leadership on these important issues.

3.    Ensure that EU legislation (including but not limited to the Habitats and Birds Directives and EU Wildlife Trade Regulations) that protects wildlife, the environment, and the welfare of animals, is fully transposed into UK law, alongside a continued commitment to implement the goals and objectives of the EU’s nature protection policies.


4.    Establish a full-time and centralised independent Zoo Inspectorate to ensure consistency in the licensing and inspection of zoos.

5.    Recognising the role of local authority and government-appointed inspectors in overseeing the care of wild animals in captivity (zoos, laboratories, pet trade, etc.), ensure they are properly trained, resourced, and have access to appropriate expert guidance so that existing legislation is effectively enforced.

6.    Ensure publication and independent review of summary statistics on causes of death of animals in zoos

7.    End the import of elephants into the UK; introduce a moratorium on the breeding of elephants in UK zoos; end the use of free contact handling of elephants; and ban the use of the ankus (bull hook).

8.    Remove the legal exemption which permits pinioning (mutilation to prevent flight) of birds in zoos.


9.    Recognising overwhelming levels of public and Parliamentary support, bring an end to the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland within a year of the election.

10.    While working towards such a ban, implement a system of licensing and inspection in the UK for all mobile zoos to include travelling vehicles, and both temporary and permanent accommodation, with specific additional licensing for suppliers intending to use non-domestic/exotic species.  

Pet trade

11.    Recognising the public health risks and animal welfare implications associated with the keeping of primates as pets or companion animals, end the practice at the earliest opportunity.

12.    Address the large-scale and increasing numbers of animals sold over the internet and end the sale and keeping of wild-caught mammals, reptiles and amphibians as pets.

13.    End the transport of live pets by mail/general courier.

14.    Review and update, or replace, the Pet Animals Act 1951, in order to make the legislation fit for purpose in the 21st century, and ensure that captive-bread pet animals have appropriate legal protection in relation to all forms of commerce, transport, and keeping.

Wildlife Trade

15.    Fully implement the terms of the EU Action Plan Against Wildlife Trafficking, and promote and engage in European inter-agency collaboration to fight wildlife trafficking.

16.    Support international calls for a comprehensive ban on the ivory trade and implement such a ban domestically in the UK without delay.

17.    Make measurable action to promote wildlife conservation, tackle wildlife trafficking, and enhance the welfare of wild animals, pre-conditions to any future international trade deals negotiated by the UK government.

Wildlife Conservation and Management

18.   Defend and strengthen the UK’s animal protection laws and regulations including the Animal Welfare Act, the Hunting Act, the Protection of Badgers Act, and the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

19.    Abandon the current badger culling policy and invest in and implement alternative measures to control bovine TB.

20.    Introduce a closed season for hare shooting in England and Wales to protect hares and their dependent young during their breeding season.

21.    Wisely use the UK’s significant overseas aid and development budget in ways that effectively address environmental protection and wildlife conservation as well as human poverty and food security issues.


22.    Include extensive and high-quality environmental and animal welfare education within the National Curriculum for both primary and secondary schools, to encourage greater respect for animals and the natural world, and to respond to the current and very real threat that wildlife and the natural environment face as a result of human activities.

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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