Green Party announces that it would stop The Grand National and ban driven Grouse shooting

The Guardian reports on the Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennett's interview with Andrew Marr on the BBC.

The Green party would consider banning the Grand National and other horse and greyhound races as part of an animal protection drive should it form the next government, its leader Natalie Bennett has suggested.

A promise to review such events will appear in the party’s manifesto, which is due to be released on Tuesday, she said.

“What we want to do is a whole range of issues dealing with animal protection. I can give you an exclusive preview of our manifesto which says we want a complete review of all horse and greyhound racing,” Bennett told the Andrew Marr show on BBC television.

She added: “There’s a whole range of broader issues around animal protection here that we really need to talk about, which is things like the badger cull, [and] we want to ban driven grouse shooting.”

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She added that “banning snares of animals and also tackling factory farming” were at the forefront of her thinking.

Bennett said she did not watch Saturday’s Grand National, which was won by Many Clouds. “I confess I wasn’t watching, didn’t know anything about it,” she said.

Asked why she wanted to review horse racing, including what Marr called the nation’s favourite, she said: “There are clearly animal protection issues there which need to be addressed.”

And, asked repeatedly whether a ban of a racing event would be a potential outcome of any review, she declined to explicitly rule it out. A spokesman did not respond to the Guardian’s request for comment.


But a candidate standing for Bennett’s party expressed doubt that she would ever go so far as to back a full ban on sporting events, and said he would not support one if she did.

David Mclean, who is standing for the Wales Green Party in Newport East, said that, if such a review were to take place, he would “expect that recommendations would be only to take further steps to improve welfare and safety”.

He said: “To suggest a ban of horse racing, the Grand National, or greyhound racing, or even to table a possibility of a ban is, to my mind, ridiculous and inconceivable.

“These are ancient sports rich in heritage and very popular. The Green party isn’t about stopping people enjoying these sports. Far from it. It’s about reducing or removing negative impacts where they exist and improving enjoyment for everyone, including animals where they participate.”

Bennett said that while her party would seek to deal with the UK’s budget deficit, too much emphasis had been put on it, and not enough on the type of society forming around it.

One example of that, she said, was that tax collected from “multinational companies and rich individuals” that is not currently being collected could be paying for essential public services.

She said her party would put up the top rate of tax to 60p in the pound for people earning more than £150,000, a move that would bring in an extra £2bn per year for public services, while acting as a disincentive to firms paying “excessively high” salaries.

She added that “very conservative figures” from HM Revenue and Customs suggested legal tax avoidance and illegal tax evasion combined were costing the UK £34bn.

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