Greens reply to British Heart Foundation
It is disappointing that Simon Gillespie, chief executive of BHF, claims there is no
alternative to animal tests (
Charity hits back at animal rights protesters – February 19th)
as it is not the case. There are, in fact, a wealth of alternative approaches in
cardiovascular research including the use of microfluidics, computer modeling, use of
human derived materials, high resolution scanning.
The fact is the BHF funds cruel tests on animals - including dogs, sheep, pigs, ponies and mice - when the difference between animal and human physiology makes results unreliable and money raised would be better spent on non-animal research.
It is sad that a charity whose motivation is compassion to people is so blindly indifferent to the suffering of animals and it is a shame that people who care about animals feel unable to support the charity. It is about time animal testing was ended and I am proud that the Green Party is the only major political party who oppose all vivisection – and supported the protest.
Membership of the Green Party in London hits 10,000
Waltham Forest & Redbridge membership up 354% in 12 months
On February 17th, membership of the London Green Party topped 10,000 members for the
very first time. Since mid-January 2015 an astounding 4,000 Londoners have joined.
The party estimates that a new member is signing up every 3 minutes, doubling the area’s
membership in the last 3 months.
The incredible surge witnessed by the Greens in London faithfully mirrors the massive rise in the party’s national standing and membership in recent weeks. The combined UK Green Parties registered their 50,000th member at the end of January.
Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party will be fielding election candidates in all five local constituencies after membership soared by 354% in the 12 months since January 2014. The party have also been crowdfunding to raise the money for their campaign.
Membership Officer for the London Green Party Noel Lynch said:
“As membership officer I’ve witnessed so many new-joiners in recent weeks that we’re having to find larger venues to host our new-members’ meetings. People come to our party for all sorts of reasons but there is a shared excitement and energy arising from the knowledge that they are participating in a popular and expanding movement, ready to deliver real change to politics in Britain. I’ve been in the party a few years now but believe me, that new energy is incredibly contagious!”
Co-Chair of the London Green Party Caroline Allen said:
“People are appreciating that our party is really fighting hard on the issues that matter to Londoners – providing affordable housing, tackling damaging air pollution, delivering a quality and affordable train service, and creating a fairer economy. With less than 100 days to go to the election, we’re urging all our supporters and members to make sure that they are registered to vote and ready to have their say on May 7th”.
Greens support protest against British Heart Foundation
Mark Dawes outside BHF in Wanstead
Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined the protest held by the
Waltham Forest Animal Protection group against the British Heart Foundation (BHF), who
test on animals, in Wanstead.
The action was part of a national day of action to highlight that the BHF fund animal testing. BHF test on numerous animals including dogs, sheep, pigs, ponies and mice - and the number runs into the thousands. Not only does this cause great suffering to animals but it is poor science too as animal physiology is very different to humans and makes such research unreliable. There are far more effective ways to carry out scientific research on heart, indeed all medical issues that do not use animals.
“The public are often unaware of the cruelty of the animal tests funded by BHF and a large number would reconsider donating if they were. If BHF spent their resources on humane scientific research, not only would animal suffering be stopped, but humans would benefit too” said Mark Dawes.
Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party in Brussels TTIP lobby
Robert Tatam (left) and David Hamilton with London’s Green MEP Jean Lambert at the Brussels TTIP rally.
Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party members Bob Tatam and David Hamilton joined
130 British activists on a trip to Brussels to lobby Members of the European Parliament
over the controversial TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). The group
also included members of Global Justice Now, War on Want and 38 Degrees who are worried
about TTIP, which is being negotiated in secret and not open to public scrutiny. Nearly
1.5 million people Europe-wide have signed a self-organised petition, the ECI (European
Citizens’ Initiative) against the trade agreement. The latest round of negotiations for
this ‘free trade deal’ between the EU and the USA began last week in Brussels.
TTIP is one of the most controversial pieces of legislation that the European Commission has aimed to push through. The treaty aims to standardise trade regulations between Europe and the US.
Despite the secrecy of the TTIP negotiations, some of the content has emerged in the public domain: the treaty could lead to a lowering of food standards and safety in Europe as many things that are allowed in the US are currently banned in Europe - like genetically modified food, chlorine-washed chicken and cattle raised with the use of growth hormone chemicals.
The treaty could also detrimentally effect public procurement. At the moment local authorities such as Waltham Forest and Redbridge are able to support local businesses when they are procuring services. However, the treaty would mean that public authorities would not be able to favour local businesses in this way.
Joining activists from across Europe, Mr. Tatam and Mr. Hamilton demonstrated outside the European Commission to convey their strongly-felt opposition. The group met with several MEPs including Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, who has always strongly opposed the TTIP deal.
David Hamilton stated:
“We felt it was important to go to Brussels to influence the thoughts and votes of our representatives in the EU. There are some crucial votes coming up in Brussels, and there are chances that our MEPs could deliver some serious body blows to TTIP. We also thought it was important to be campaigning in the city, while the negotiators were meeting in secret, to remind them that many people are deeply unhappy about TTIP and the effect of the treaty on people and communities.”
First local crowdfunding campaign is launched
Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party launched its first crowdfunding
campaign on Crowdfunder -
We plan to stand an MP in all five local constituencies at the General Election to provide voters with a real alternative on 7th May. However, there is a £500 deposit per constituent. We are asking for £2,000 to make sure that there is a Green candidate in all five local constituencies. This crowdfunding project gives you the opportunity to help us achieve this goal, and to help make our current surge in local and national support count through 2015 and beyond.
Local Greens in City Hall Housing Rally
Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party outside City Hall
On Saturday 31st January, Waltham Forest and Redbridge Greens joined five thousand
people on The March for Homes, starting at St.Leonard Church, Shoreditch and finishing
with a rally outside City Hall. The march is the first of its type to bring together
campaigners, tenants and trade unionists on the inequality caused by housing policies.
Since December 2014, the government has exempted anyone who turns an empty building into private housing from paying for further affordable units, even if they could do so and still make healthy profits.
Ashley Gunstock, Green Party candidate for Leyton and Wanstead, was on the march.
He said: “Government has an ongoing obligation to look after the interests of ordinary citizens. But our current government prefers to support the interests of wealthy investors rather than to regulate the housing market. A home should be for living in, and ensuring an affordable roof over everyone's head should be an absolute priority.”
In Waltham Forest, the planned redevelopment of the twin towers of Fred Wigg and John Walsh on the edge of Wanstead flats, aims to improve the standard of accommodation for residents, but with the number of council flats on the site being cut from 234 to 160, the net number of flats available will shrink by a third. One of the two blocks will be converted into privately owned flats, leaving some of the current residents with no option but to be rehoused elsewhere.
Ashley added: ‘London is in the throes of a severe housing crisis. Our council needs to do its bit to support ordinary residents rather than openly pandering to the well-to-do.’
Local Housing: Sinful poor, or Sympathetic council solution?
This week it was reported in the national press that the plans to cut social housing,
as part of a longer term redevelopment of the Fred Wigg and John Walsh tower blocks,
have met yet more opposition. And now, following Wednesday’s angry residents’ meeting at
Leytonstone’s Epicentre, members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, who had
previously attended a residents’ meeting before Christmas, believe that Labour are
selectively reporting residents’ experiences.
Green Party member RoseMary Warrington said: ‘The impression I had from the meeting was that too many people were unaware of the implication of moving on their security of tenure. Tenants should have been fully consulted – that means being balloted fairly.’
The decision to re-develop the towers was unanimously voted for by all Labour cabinet members at Waltham Forest Town Hall last year. Under the approved plan, a 3rd block will be erected between the existing blocks, overlooking Wanstead Flats, and new flats will be sold on the open market. The council say that this will allow it to raise an estimated three-quarters of the £40million that the project demands.
Cabinet Member for Housing Khevyn Limbajee claims that the erection of the 3rd block will minimise disruption to tower residents, who “will only have to move a few metres when the flats are being renovated.”
Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party believe that many vitally important questions have been left unanswered by Mr.Limbajee. Above all, we wonder how current residents will be able to return to live in their former homes with the number of council flats on the site being cut from 234 to 160?
RoseMary concluded: ‘London is in the throes of a severe housing crisis. Our council needs to do its bit to support ordinary residents rather than openly pandering to the well-to-do.’
As the election gets nearer, Waltham Forest and Redbridge Greens will be campaigning on this issue.
CCTV in slaughterhouses
The Green Party supports having CCTV in all slaughterhouses – we have campaigned on
the issue as put forward by
The Green Party has strong policies for animals – we oppose factory farming, vivisection, hunting, fur, animals in circuses, foie gras, live exports – and have campaigned on these issues. It is disappointing that the other major parties put so low priority on animal issues and very sad to see that both the Conservatives and UKIP support bringing back the cruel sport of fox hunting.
Je suis Charlie
We would condemn the barbaric killings in Paris – these atrocities were not in the
name of Islam any more than the killings in Norway by Anders Breivik were in the name of
Christianity. Fundamentalists of all religions/politics should be opposed. Whilst
people’s religious beliefs should be respected, religion should also be allowed to be
criticised and mocked – we stand fully behind Charlie Hebdo.
Animals are victims at Christmas
Christmas maybe the time of peace and goodwill to all mankind but it is a shame that
this does not apply to animals too. Sadly, animals are often the victims of our over
indulgence at Christmas – around 10 million turkeys are killed for Christmas as well as
other animals such as pigs, cows, chickens, geese, ducks, pheasants and others. The
majority of these are factory farmed in an inhumane and cruel way.
As well as being cruel to animals, industrial farming is very destructive to environment. As well as causing pollution, the meat and dairy industry contributes more of the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change than transportation. To cut down on meat would be a compassionate resolution for the New Year, there is also a pledge to go vegan for January – www.veganuary.com.
Caroline Lucas speaks at Animal Aid Fayre
Caroline Lucas (right) at the Greens for Animal Protection stall
Green MP Caroline Lucas spoke at the
Animal Aid Christmas Fayre in London on December 7th. She highlighted
the work that she has done for animals in the Houses of Parliament. The Greens - unlike
the other major parties - have very strong policies on animal issues including
opposing cruel practices like factory farming, vivisection, hunting and the fur
industry. Caroline Lucas has also spoken out against the inhumane badger cull and
Greens join march against live exports
Mark Dawes (left) with members from Ashford Green Party
Mark Dawes from Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined other Greens on the
march against the live exports on Saturday November 29th in Ramsgate. The march was held
in Ramsgate as that is where live exports are taking place. It ended with a rally with
speakers that included Green Party leader Natalie Bennett.
The aim of the march was to highlight that the live export of farm animals continues – largely hidden from view – and to urge the government to take action to allow UK ports to refuse to accept live exports. The live export trade is cruel and unnecessary yet every year tens of thousands of sheep and calves endure long journeys by road and sea across Europe. After suffering overcrowding in unsuitable vehicles with little or no access to food or water and extremes of heat and cold, they are often killed on arrival at their destination.
“The live export trade is cruel and should be stopped” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party. “If live exports continue, thousands of animals will be condemned to unnecessary suffering” he added.
Greens support protest against factory farming
Mark Dawes (left) from Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party at the protest
Greens supported the Waltham Forest Animal Protection group who protested outside Nando’s
on Saturday November 22nd in Walthamstow against factory farming with particular focus on the
cruel way chickens are factory farmed. Nearly all the chickens sold by Nando’s come from
factory farms. The protest was part of a national day of protest against Nando’s organised
by the campaigning group VIVA
Factory farmed chickens live for only six to seven weeks and are kept in vast, crowded sheds and most never see the light of day. The sheds contain 30-40,000 thousand chickens with each chicken having the space of the size of an A4 sheet of paper. The chickens have been selectively bred to grow quickly with the result that their bones are unable to support their weight which causes crippling pain.
Many chickens die prematurely and the unhealthy conditions means diseases spread quickly which cause Salmonella and Campylobacter food poisoning as well as Bird Flu.
Overall meat consumption in Britain continues to decline yet chicken sales grow, with 945 million birds slaughtered last year. 94 per cent of all farmed animals killed in this country are chickens.
The protest was well received by the general public with many people expressing their support and opposition to factory farming.
“Factory farming is extremely cruel with animals and birds treated like products rather than the living creatures they are” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party who participated in the protest.“And it is possible to eat cruelty-free at Nando’s as they do have vegan options which are also much healthier” he added.
Waltham Forest Hosts Banner Theatre
We supported the inaugural event of the 'New Putney Debates' last week - a performance and
discussion by the Banner Theatre.
The New Putney debates are organised by Occupy to commerate the original debates in 1647 when, at St Mary's Church Putney, both civilians and soldiers from Cromwell's New Model Army debated the new constitution for England after the Civil War. The debates were about creating a fairer, more egalitarian society; a debate that is still very relevant today. The Banner Theatre was established some 40 years ago; Agitating, Educating and Propagating has been a most successful tactic for change but, in recent years, we have forgotten this.
The group performed in the Waltham Forest Social Club at the Town; using music, spoken word and video images and interviews we were told two stories. The first the inspiring story of the parents, teachers and pupils of Downhills Primary School in Haringey and their struggle to stop the school being turned into an Academy. Following this, the group performed agit-prop at its best to highlight the effects of Austerity, the cuts and the dismantling of the NHS.
If you missed it, the Banner Theatre will be in Lewisham in November. See - www.bannertheatre.co.uk/list-of-upcoming-gigs
And the Putney debates continue for the next few weeks - inspiring events covering topics chiming with Green values such as trade treaties, alternative energy policy and income policy. See - www.thenewputneydebates.com/programme
Greens join protest against incinerator
Residents in South London have been fighting plans for an incinerator proposed by Sutton
Council on the grounds of: increasing air pollution by burning recyclables; destroying the
natural environment (next to a new nature reserve); and poor value for money.
RoseMary and Steve from the local party joined the demo outside the Royal Courts on 9th Oct in support of the judicial review hearing brought by Shasha Khan, leading light of the campaign and co-ordinator of Sutton & Croydon Green Party. It was covered by several regional tv channels www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CBRZaORPmMM
The judgement will take a few weeks to come through as they are waiting on a point law relating to another case.In the mean time further donations are still required to cover the legal costs!
Zippos Circus Sparks Green Protest
Performing animals still used
Mark Dawes (left) and Rachel Barrat from Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party
Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party – including Mark Dawes - joined
protesters outside Zippos Circus in Barkingside to protest against the circus using animals in
its performances on the opening night, Thursday 25th September. The protest was also supported
by the Waltham Forest Animal Protection group.
Zippos Circus are one of only a few circuses in the UK that continue to use animals, the majority do not. Zippos Circus use horses, ponies and budgerigars in their performances.
Using any animal in a circus is cruel. Whilst horses and ponies may be domesticated animals, they too suffer in circuses and are often forced to perform tricks under duress. The animals spend large amounts of time being transported around the country and are often tethered for long periods when not travelling, so do not get enough exercise. Opinion polls show a large majority of people want a ban on all animals in circuses.
The circus site – opposite Fairlop Waters – is on a fast road which is clearly dangerous, with cars slowing down suddenly to enter the circus. The road safety implications of this site have been raised in the past with the police and Redbridge Council but to no avail.
“It is very disappointing to see a circus with animals in Redbridge when there are many other circuses without animals that can be enjoyed without the cruelty” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party. “It is cruel to the animals involved and we will be working to ban all animal circuses from Redbridge,” he added.
The People’s Climate March
Local Greens March to Westminster
Left to Right: Green MEP Jean Lambert, David Hamilton, Steve Lambert, Mark Dawes, Huw Davies.
Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party marched through central London on Sunday
September 21st in The People’s Climate March. The March was just one of over 2000
demonstrations taking place in scores of countries on the eve of the September 24th Climate
summit, which will see world leaders gather in New York for emergency meetings called by UN
secretary general Ban Ki-moon. As the largest climate rally in history, the global Day of
Action called on world leaders to seize the opportunity for ambitious and meaningful action
on climate change.
Leading Green politicians including MP Caroline Lucas and London’s MEP Jean Lambert attended the London rally. The Greens are the only Westminster party committed to delivering an economic system that works for people and the planet.
Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales said:
“As leader of the Green Party I am proud to represent a political party that is so firmly committed to its goal of protecting our planet and its people. We want to see an end to the granting of subsidies to environmentally damaging practices such as fracking and a move-over to the use of renewable energy sources, creating new jobs in the process.
"What is so inspiring about this weekend’s events is that they show how in making these calls, we are not alone. People from across borders and from a whole range of backgrounds are being unified by a shared understanding of the need for action on climate change. We urge our world leaders to show similar levels of solidarity and agree a way forward that will reduce carbon emissions and build a more sustainable future for us all.”
Boycott Zippos Circus
It is very disappointing to see that Zippos Circus is coming to Barkingside in Redbridge
later this month. Zippos Circus are one of few circuses in the UK that continues to use
animals, the majority of UK circuses do not use animals. Zippos Circus uses Horses, Ponies and
Budgerigars in their performances.
Using any animal in a circus is cruel. Whilst horses and ponies may be domesticated animals, they too suffer in circuses and are often forced to perform tricks under duress. The animals spend large amounts of time being transported around the country and are often being tethered for long periods when not travelling so do not get enough exercise. It is about time animal circuses were banned to stop the suffering of the animals involved.
And it is disappointing that the Ilford Recorder is promoting this cruel circus with their competition in this week’s paper. I hope the Ilford Recorder reconsiders this promotion so as not to be supporting animal cruelty.
Local Greens Join Stop the War March
Protest at the Israeli attack on Gaza
Jean Lambert MEP speaking at the Stop The War rally
Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party along with Green MEP Jean Lambert joined
over 45,000 people in central London on Saturday July 26th for a Stop The War march protesting
the Israeli attack on Gaza and calling for a free Palestine. Jean Lambert was also one of the
high-profile speakers at the rally. Saturday’s march occurred in the context of a 12-hour
ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that began at 8 a.m. local time. This was the second
consecutive Saturday that local Green Party members had attended a demonstration for Gaza.
As people the world over from Berlin to Buenos Aires came together to protest against the Israeli attacks on Gaza, the London march was one of the biggest demonstrations seen here recently, with the Metropolitan Police estimating that at least 45,000 protesters marched from the Israeli Embassy to Parliament. However, it received little coverage on the BBC, reflecting a lack of impartiality in news coverage.
The last 2 weeks have seen an escalation of violence by Israel on Gaza including air strikes and a ground offensive which has resulted in the deaths of over a thousand civilians, including nearly 200 children. Whilst the Greens would condemn the rockets launched by Hamas at Israel, these have to be seen in context of the violence perpetuated against Palestine by Israel and their continued occupation of Palestinian land.
Unfortunately news coverage on the issue is pro-Israel, as are the other three main political parties with their continued support of Israeli aggression regardless of lives lost. The Green Party believes in genuine peace in the region and that must include justice for Palestine and a genuinely free Palestine that is allowed to flourish as a country without being occupied or blockaded.
“We condemn the violence committed by Israel and their disregard for the lives of Palestinians who are suffering with hundreds killed and more injured” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party. “The circle of violence will not be broken by more aggression and what is needed is for the violence to stop and genuine peace talks that must included justice and freedom for Palestine,” he added.
Democracy under Threat from TTIP Trade Deal
Greens March Through Westminster
Waltham Forest and Redbridge Greens at the protest including Green MEP Jean Lambert (centre)
Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party marched through central London on
Saturday July 12th in protest at TTIP – a new proposed bilateral trade deal between the EU and
USA. The march went past Parliament, finishing at Europe House, the London offices of the
European Parliament. Speeches were made by people including Green MEP Jean Lambert and Mark
Known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP is one of the largest free trade and investment treaties. TTIP is currently being negotiated in secret and will involve the transfer of power from Governments to transnational corporations. What does this transfer of power mean? In essence, the TTIP will remove regulatory barriers to trade, including those that protect our environment, public services and animal welfare.
If the TTIP goes through, any corporation will have the power to sue countries who fail to remove regulations which prevent the unfettered and profitable operation of their business. This applies to a whole raft of regulations in areas as diverse as food safety, workers rights and environmental protection – regulations that protect our society. Under the deal food products include chemically washed poultry, livestock treated with growth hormones, and genetically modified crops – all allowed in the US – could be sold in the UK. TTIP also threatens public services like the NHS, as it will force privatisation.
The UK taxpayer would pick up the tab for any potential TTIP-backed corporate lawsuits against the UK government. However, the UK taxpayer has had no say in the TTIP, as this undemocratic deal is being negotiated in secret. Even elected parliamentarians will have only limited access to the document.
The deal between the EU and US is backed by the three main parties, which claim that removing tariffs will boost the European economy and create jobs, leaving the Greens the only parliamentary party against the deal.
“TTIP is massive threat to our democracy, our environment, animal welfare and public services” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party. “I urge people to come together to stop it before it is too late,” he added.
Greens join thousands in demonstration against austerity
Mark Dawes (left) and David Hamilton at the demonstration
Local members from Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party joined an estimated 50,000
people in a march against the austerity policies of this Government. The demonstration was
organised by the People’s Assembly. The march, on Saturday June 21st, began outside the BBC in
Portland Place and ended in Parliament Square, where they were addressed by speakers including
Green MP Caroline Lucas, Owen Jones, Mark Steel and comedian Russell Brand.
March organisers chose the BBC as the starting point because the public broadcaster has been biased in its coverage of the economic policies of this Government, often supporting them while supposedly being neutral. And true to form, the BBC ignored the estimated 50,000 people who marched in front of their offices. The march ended at Parliament, as it has been the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Government that has enacted the cruel and callous austerity policies.
The austerity policy has been an economic failure. It has slowed the recovery down and harmed the poorest and most vulnerable in society whilst benefiting the rich and powerful. The global financial crash was caused by the reckless greed of bankers and yet this Government seeks to reward the City of London but punish the young, the elderly, the disabled, the poorly paid, etc - none of whom were in any way responsible for the crash.
This demonstration shows people are angry about the destructive austerity policies that have seen public services cut, while the rich get richer” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party. “We are seeing more inequality, more poverty – what we need is genuine social justice that the Green Party advocate”, he added.
Jean Lambert MEP speaks in Trafalgar Square
Jean speaking in Trafalgar Sq on 8th June at an event organised by the Sikh community
commemorating the attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar 30 yrs ago. The event was very well
Jean has had close relations with Sikhs in Brussels helping to promote their quest for justice for the massacre.
She visited the Golden Temple in 2006.
Greens joins the Great Badger Trail against the badger cull
Mark Dawes (right) on the Great Badger Trail
Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined other Greens and hundreds of
other people on the last leg of the Great Badger Trail on Saturday May 31st. The Great Badger
Trail started in Gloucester and ended outside Parliament in London – 112 miles in 10 days –
with some campaigners walking the whole distance. The London leg started at Hyde Park and
ended with a rally with speakers including Downton Abbey star Peter Egan.
The aim of the walk was to highlight the Government’s cruel and unnecessary policy of culling badgers and to raise money to assist campaigners in the proposed badger cull zones of Gloucester and Somerset. The supposed reason for the badger cull is to stop the spread of TB in cattle but science tells us that the cull will be ineffective. And even by its own criteria, the cull has been complete failure. With less two thousand badgers killed at an estimated cost of over £7 million, a cost of over £4,000 per animal killed. As over 80% of badgers are not thought to carry TB, this cruel cull would have a negligible effect in stopping TB in cattle.
Far more effective would be a vaccination programme as has been carried out in Wales – and far cheaper too, as cost of vaccinating badgers is less than £700 per animal, a fifth of the cost of killing badgers. But the real problem is factory farming which leads to more diseases in animals as they are far less healthy, being kept in poor and overcrowded conditions.
The real reason for the cull may not be to eradicate TB at all, but to remove badgers – which have a protected status – from areas where the Government wants to build, whether it be the HS2 rail line, fracking or housing.
“The Government sought to scapegoat badgers because it was too cowardly to tackle the real problem that is bad farming practices,” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party. “But the cull would seem to be used by the Government as a way to remove badgers from areas they want to develop and get round the badger’s protected status. This is an attack on our wildlife by a cruel, callous and incompetent Government”, he added.
Comment on controversy over Roast, halal restaurant in Wanstead
The main concern on this issue is animal welfare and the Green Party has a long history of
campaigning locally on animal welfare, for example, against foie gras at Provender and
opposing dog racing in Walthamstow. The most humane way of slaughtering an animal is
pre-stunning the animal first. This should not be a problem with halal as pre-stunning is
accepted by halal, indeed over 80% of halal meat produced in the UK is pre-stunned. We would
like to see Roast source their meat from pre-stunned slaughtered sources.
However, this does not mean that standard slaughter is without problems. Secret filming by Animal Aid has revealed abuses and cruelty in standard slaughterhouses and we fully support their campaign to make CCTV mandatory in all slaughterhouses - please sign the petition. Also, it is important that comments on halal are not due to islamophobia under the pretence of animal welfare. The media has a role to play in not inflaming the issue.
Of course, the best way to avoid animal cruelty is not to eat meat at all!
Comment on the local election results
The Green Party would like to thank everyone who voted Green in the local and Euro elections.
The Greens increased their vote, often finishing second only to Labour, and can be considered
to be the third party in Waltham Forest ahead of the Liberal Democrats. The Greens also
retained their seat in the European Parliament where Jean Lambert will continue as a MEP.
It was also good to see Waltham Forest reject the xenophobia of UKIP and the loss of Conservative seats is a rejection of the Iain Duncan Smith Conservatism where those on benefits are scapegoated for the failings of the rich bankers.
The election of Labour shows that Waltham Forest is a progressive borough and the Greens will be pushing to make it more progressive, rejecting austerity and cuts on public services and working towards a society where everyone benefits not just the wealthy few.
Greens condemn cruelty on the menu
The Green Party was very disappointed to see foie gras on the menu from Bidoche this
Saturday in E17. It is part of Grub Club which offers the opportunity for people to cook
and invite diners. But allowing foie gras on the menu has added unnecessary cruelty to evening.
The production of foie gras is very cruel and causes great suffering to ducks and geese.
It is so cruel that the production of foie gras has been banned in the UK.
Foie gras is produced by force feeding ducks or geese huge amounts of food so that their livers swell painfully to up to ten times their normal size. This is done by pumping large quantities of corn and fat directly into their stomachs via a funnel, up to four times a day for up to 18 days, this causes the birds great suffering. The diseased livers of the ducks and geese are then sold and cooked as “high class” cuisine - foie-gras.
“It is sad to see this cruel product being offered by Bidoche and promoted by Grub Club in Waltham Forest” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party. “It is a shame because the idea of Grub Club is good - getting people together over food. However, cruelty should never be on the menu which is certainly the case with foie gras and shame on Bidoche for offering it” he added.
Greens say no to fracking in London
Greens have made it clear that they oppose fracking in the UK and London is threatened as well as the countryside.
London's Green MEP Jean Lambert, a resident of Waltham Forest, said:
“Many people aren't aware that fracking is a threat not just to our countryside, but to our capital too. It's absurd to even consider drilling for shale gas in our overcrowded city.
“With London's pollution at dangerous levels, instead of taking action to clean up our air, the UK Government and London Mayor just stick their heads in the soil - looking for more pollutants to dig up.
“Fracking is not a quick-fix solution to our energy needs – it's a distraction from the clean green solutions we need. It keeps us dependent on fossil-fuels, accelerates climate change, and threatens the local environment with risks to drinking water supplies, air and noise pollution.
“Rather than of listening to the oil and gas lobby, governments must listen to the climate scientists and halt this damaging dash for shale gas.
“Greens in Europe are calling for fracking to be stopped across the continent, and until this happens we are working to close the gaps in EU fracking regulation to better protect our air, soil and landscapes. We need more Greens in Europe to make sure energy policy moves in the right direction.
“We also need more Greens across the capital to keep London a frack-free zone.
“Only Greens will put public health before corporate wealth.”
Local Greens launch manifesto
Party pledges to protect Whipps Cross Hospital from cuts and ban zero-hour contracts for all workers
The Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party have set out seven main pledges incorporating
both London boroughs.
- To retain and expand council and affordable housing
- To encourage healthy and sustainable living by growing food locally
- To protect Whipps Cross Hospital from funding cuts or any departmental closures
- Banning zero-hour contracts for workers and implementing the London Living Wage for all council workers and contractors
- Stop large lorries passing through residential streets and increase the number of 20mph roads
- Reform the planning system to ensure better accountability and consultation
- To promote the 'Climate Local' action plan and make homes more energy efficient
Local Green joins march for World Day for Animals in Laboratories
Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined other Greens to march with
hundreds of people in Nottingham to mark World Day for Animals in Laboratories. World Day for
Animals in Laboratories on April 24th is a UN recognised date to highlight the millions of
animals each year who suffer and die behind the walls of laboratories.
The event on Saturday April 26th started with a rally and then a march around the centre of Nottingham. Nottingham was the venue as there was a previously successful campaign against a Boots animal research facility in Nottingham which resulted in its closure. Sadly, though, 80 animals still die each day in a laboratory in Nottingham. The demonstration called for an end to all animal experiments.
The latest Home Office statistics show that animal testing has increased in the last three years and that the UK is third largest user of animals in experiments in the EU. Animals tested on include rabbits, cats, dogs, horses, pigs, goats, sheep, cattle, deer, marmosets and macaques.
“Vivisection causes great suffering to millions of animals” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party “And it is unnecessary too as medical research can now be carried out that does not involve testing on animals - and is also more accurate. Vivisection is bad science as well as cruel and should be stopped” he added.
Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party candidates endorse
Living Streets proposals.
It has been a core Green policy that we make our streets safer and more attractive, both for
residents and for pedestrians using them, to improve their health, pleasure, and the local
economy. Measures like traffic calming, home zones and support for 20mph speed limits, were Green policies
long before the larger parties adopted them.
Greens comment on E11 BID
Local businesses are being asked to pay levies to the E11 BID despite the company being
under investigation for financial mismanagement and failing to pay taxes and keep their
accounts. See -
The E11 Business Improvement District company is slammed in independent report.
Local businesses I have spoke to are understandably very unhappy about this and
would expect money they pay to be used correctly and be accountable – and that does not seemed
to have happened.
It is also concerning that the E11 BID board members when the mismanagement occurred includes councillors putting themselves up for election in May when they will have responsibility for the finances of Waltham Forest. Among them is Clyde Loakes who seems very keen on self publicity on issues like spitting – whilst no one likes spitting, the use of the law on this is certainly questionable – but has been less than forthcoming when asked to explain his role as an E11 BID board member.
Grand National deadly to horses
Mark Dawes from Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined the demonstration outside
Channel 4 against the Grand National as the race took place on Saturday April 5th. Channel 4
support the Grand National by broadcasting the race.
The demonstration was organised by the animal rights organisation Animal Aid and the horses that have died in the Grand National since 1989 were remembered in silence. Whilst, fortunately, there were no fatalities in this year’s race, the course is enormously risky to horses and riders alike. The Grand National is still five times more lethal to horses than other steeplechases, with the last two decades being the most dangerous in the race’s history. Despite numerous changes to the course and conditions of the race over the past 50 years, 35 horses are known to have lost their lives, while many others have been injured. According the British Horseracing Authority, ‘Jump racing accounts for just over 4 fatalities of every thousand runners.’ This equates to 0.4%. For the last 1,000 runners (from 1987 to 2013) in the Grand National, there were 23 deaths (which equates to 2.3%). Therefore, the Grand National is over five times more deadly than other jump races.
“It is time this cruel race was ended” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, “The suffering of animals should not be a source of entertainment”.
“It is ironic that Channel 4 are broadcasting the race as it was Channel 4 with their showing of the Animals film on their third night on air in 1982 that inspired me to become a vegetarian and get involved in animal rights campaigns” he added.
Greens join Anti-Racism Demonstration
Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined the anti-racism demonstration
in Central London on Saturday 22nd March. The event marked UN Anti-Racism Day. The
demonstration ended with a rally in Trafalgar Square with a number of speakers including
London Green MEP Jean Lambert.
Sadly, there has been a rise in racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism across Europe as immigrants are often scapegoated for the severe austerity policies being pursued by Governments, policies which are unnecessary and cause suffering to the most vulnerable when it is was wealthy bankers who caused the financial problems – the same bankers who are currently being paid massive bonuses. In this country we have seen the rise of hard right parties like the BNP and now UKIP who seek to blame immigrants for problems they did not cause.
The Green Party is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion and opposes hate-based behaviour, whether directed at people because of their faith, race - or just hatred of 'the other'.
“We need to send out a clear message that we will not tolerant racism and the hard right by voting for progressive parties like the Green Party in the forthcoming European and Council elections” said Steve Lambert of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party. “Too often immigrants and the most vulnerable are being made to suffer for the failure of an unjust economic system” he added.
Badger Cull a cruel waste of taxpayers’ money
On Saturday February 22nd Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined
other Greens and over a thousand other people in a march against the badger cull. The march
was held in central Birmingham where the National Farmers Union (NFU) are meeting - the NFU
having advocated the badger cull.
The supposed reason for the badger cull is to stop the spread of TB in cattle, but science tells us that the cull will be ineffective.
Even by its own criteria, the cull has been a complete failure.
With less two thousand badgers killed at an estimated cost of over £7 million, that’s a cost of over £4,000 per animal killed.
As over 80% of badgers are not thought to carry TB, this cruel cull would have a negligible effect in stopping TB in cattle.
Far more effective would be a vaccination programme as had been carried out in Wales – and far cheaper too, as the cost of vaccinating badgers is less than £700 per animal, a fifth of the cost of killing them. And real problem is factory farming which leads to more disease in animals as they are far less healthy being kept in poor conditions.
Culling badgers is very cruel but will also have a detrimental effect on the eco-system and the Government has – once again - shown itself to be ignorant of environmental issues.
“The Government sought to scapegoat badgers because it was too cowardly to tackle the real problem that is bad farming practices,” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party. “The cull has caused great suffering for no good reason and Defra Secretary Owen Paterson who oversaw this policy and who blamed the failure of the badger cull on the badgers for moving the goalposts should resign,” he added.
Boris breaks promise on tube ticket offices
The Mayor of London, who campaigned for election on the promise of keeping ticket offices
open, now plans to close them as part of the 12.5% cut in the budget of London Underground (LU)
announced on 21st November. This will, at a stroke, reduce safety, reduce service, cause
inconvenience to the travelling public and increase the cost of travelling cattle class. The
intention of London Underground is to create a self-service, supermarket model, and that means
all ticket offices are due to close by 2015.
The news of the savage cuts was given at the same time as announcing the 24 hour running of some tube lines; neatly hiding the cuts from all the headlines. The mainstream media has repeated London Underground’s assertion that the Railway Marine and Transport Union, the RMT, is striking action over the 24 hour running. They are not. They are having strike action over the cuts.
To support the closure of the ticket offices, London Underground states that only 3% of the tickets for the 1.2 billion journeys each year on London Underground are purchased at a ticket office. Oh dear, such lies, damn lies and statistics! That 3% is actually 36 million journeys a year, an average of nearly 100,000 journeys per day. However, these journeys are not neatly and evenly distributed between London Underground’s 270 stations: they are predominantly in the larger central London stations or transport hubs. I dare Boris to cycle up from the air conditioned comfort of City Hall to spend a day investigating local stations in Waltham Forest and Redbridge so that he can see with his own eyes just how well-used our ticket offices are. Remember your election promise to passengers, Boris?
An Open Letter to The Board of Barts Health NHS Trust
We are writing to express our deep concern at the recent sacking of Charlotte Monro.
Charlotte was an experienced Occupational Therapist and a Trade Union leader of 26 years’
experience serving at Whipps Cross and looking after the local community.
A respected and trusted member of staff should be able to challenge the running of the Trust and inform elected councillors of staff concerns. Proceedings were started against Ms Monro after she spoke out to a local authority health scrutiny panel about the threat of closure of the Stroke Unit at Whipps Cross. This illustrates how you view transparency and engagement with the local community. Where Trusts have tried to stop scrutiny and debate about proposed changes we have often seen poor practice and scandals follow, similar to events in Mid Staffordshire over the past few years.
Staff and patients did not ask to be saddled with the huge burden of the PFI at The Royal London, but the knock-on effect of this uneconomic building project is highly likely to have a detrimental effect on the quality of care that patients receive: a reduction in staff skills and numbers, the debanding of staff, and now the fear of speaking out after seeing their trusted Union leader sacked.
We do not accept your ostensible reason for sacking Charlotte: that she failed to disclose prior criminal conviction from the 1970s before joining the trust. She did disclose these convictions in a criminal records check some months ago and the trust took no action against her; only taking action after she bravely spoke out against the threat of closure of services at Whipps Cross.
We believe that your recent decision to sack Charlotte Monro has demonstrated that you are not interested in debate, scrutiny or transparency. This sacking is nothing more than an attempt to close off discussion about plans for Whipps Cross and the Trust, showing a failure to engage with or care about the community that you serve.