Henry Smith MP has been the Member of Parliament for Crawley since 2010.
Henry has worked closely with the BUAV on a number of campaigns including our work on the international trade in primates for research and he has asked Parliamentary Questions on our behalf to raise awareness and bring about change.
Henry also closely supported our Licensed to Kill investigation and signed an open letter to Lord Taylor of Holbeach, then Home Office Minister, calling on the UK Government to set up an independent inquiry into the appalling animal suffering and wrong-doing uncovered at Imperial College London.
This month Henry hosted the BUAV’s Parliamentary Reception for the Our Best Friends campaign which calls for an end to the use of cats and dogs in experiments. The Reception was attended by cross-party MPs, animal advocates and BUAV supporters.
Picture: Henry Smith MP with BUAV CEO Michelle Thew at the BUAV's Parliamentary reception
1. How did you become interested in issues surrounding animal protection?
I grew up with animals so appreciate their being sentient beings, characters even! Animal welfare has always seemed to me to be morally right given the influence man wealds in the world.
2. How long have you been working with the BUAV?
My late mum was a passionate BUAV supporter and I admired her for that. When becoming an MP I wanted to acknowledge my debt to her and responsibility to animals, not just the human constituents.
3. How important do you find this issue amongst your constituents?
Since being elected an MP I’ve been pleasantly heartened by the number of constituents who share the importance of animal welfare and are willing to stand-up and be counted. That gives me the strength to stand-up on these issues in Parliament.
4. What changes have you seen in public attitudes towards animal protection during your time working on the issue?
I believe we are winning the moral and scientific arguments against unnecessary animal testing, in no small part due to the effective awareness raised by the BUAV, but we can’t be complacent and there is still much work to do, at home and abroad.
5. Do you share your home with any animals?
Sadly our family dog, Hogarth, passed away but he reached a good age of 16 in what I believe was a happy home for him. I’m sure there will be more paws in the house soon – my children are lobbying hard for that!
6. If you had one message to Government on animal experiments what would it be?
Don’t tolerate inertia and misguided vested interests that results in bad, even dangerous, science and so causing harm to human and animal alike.