Charles Jardine, Director of the Countryside Alliance, gained a public assurance from Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw that angling will be exempt from the forthcoming Animal Welfare Bill.

Mr Bradshaw gave the reassurance to Mr Jardine and other delegates at a meeting of the South West of England Regional Development Agency on 17th January. He made it clear that angling will be safe under the Labour Party. The Alliance had previously expressed concern that under the Draft Animal Welfare Bill, published last year, angling could inadvertently be affected. These concerns were echoed by DEFRA Secretary of State Margaret Beckett and were accepted by the cross-party EFRA Committee in its recent report on the draft Bill.

Mr Jardine commented: “We welcome Mr Bradshaw’s public assurances. Whilst we had been given vague assurances previously, this will put many anglers minds at ease. There was a feeling of unrest and disquiet about the knock on effects of the Bill on our sport, so to have the minister so adamant and publicly committed to angling and angling practices is very reassuring. That angling will be exempted from this legislation will ensure that the £3bn pound industry can enjoy a very bright future indeed.”