One of the worthier "fringe parties" is the Animal Welfare Party which has just announced it is standing four candidates in the general election in Kensington, Putney, Holborn & St Pancras and Hackney North & Stoke Newington.
Their aims and principles begin with the following statement of intent:
A world in which animals are not exploited and are seen and treated as sentient beings.
To establish a voice for the animals through a dedicated political party that focuses on respect and compassion for all living beings.
- To raise human perceptions of the moral status of animals by recognising animals as sentient beings
- To raise the legal status of animals to reflect their status as sentient beings, including protection in national and international law
- By promoting animals’ rights, to further respect for both humans and non-human animals
- To facilitate increased respect for all sentient life by promoting animal protection education, at all educational levels
- To protect the environment by ensuring that farming and development activities are sustainable
- To promote healthy living
- To phase out farming systems with poor welfare consequences for animals
- To improve animal welfare by raising farming standards and by ensuring trade regulations and other measures encourage high welfare standards
- To support farming methods that enhance animal welfare or reduce use of or dependency on animals
- To phase out livestock farming subsidies in sectors where consumer demand is falling, and redirect such subsidies towards plant-based agriculture and the promotion of biodiversity, and to the general areas of environment, education and public health
- To end the long distance transportation of live animals to or from destinations within the UK of over 200 miles, and to continental European destinations and further afield
- To immediately ban the harmful use of all non-human primates in experiments
- To ban all harmful use of animals in scientific research, toxicity testing and education
- To establish an independent transparent scientific inquiry to thoroughly review the ethical, scientific and economic implications of the use of animals in scientific research, toxicity testing and education
- To facilitate increased funding for the development, validation and implementation of non-animal alternatives
- To ban all trapping and snaring, and hunting and shooting for recreational purposes
- To promote wildlife preservation, habitat conservation and biodiversity
- To establish a basic national animal health care system similar in some ways to the NHS, including state funding of animal rescue organisations such as the RSPCA and PDSA
- To establish a list of animal species and breeds that can suitably be kept as companion animals based on their needs. All non-listed animals would be unsuited as pets and should not be kept
- To ban breeding of companion animals to meet breed standards or for other purposes that result in hereditary anatomical, physiological or other impairments potentially contrary to good welfare
- To improve legislation and regulations against animal neglect and abuse, by strengthening and extending police powers, increasing penalties for offenders, and increasing public educational programmes concerning responsible companion animal care and related topics
- To ban the harmful use of animals for blood sports, racing events, any other form of entertainment or cultural event
- To ban the harmful exploitation of animals for advertising, fashion and art.
Unlike some of the fringe parties they don't seem to have delusions of grandeur and though unlikely to get any MP's the election is an ideal opportunity to raise these kinds of issues.
Find more about them at the Animal Welfare Party website