Jim Dowd has been the Member of Parliament for Lewisham West since 1992, and was re-elected for Lewisham West and Penge in May 2010. He is currently a member of the Science and Technology Select Committee and previously sat on the Health Select Committee.
Jim has worked closely with the BUAV on a number of campaigns including our EU cosmetics campaign and Broken Promises which is calling the Government to account on its pledge to reduce animal experiments.
Jim also joined us to deliver a message to the Home Office about animal research at Imperial College in light of the failings uncovered by our undercover investigation Licensed to Kill.
This month Jim has tabled an EDM following the Government’s reduction strategy, ‘working to reduce the use of animals in scientific research’. The EDM calls on the government to use specific targets and timescales for the reduction of animal experiments.
1. How did you become interested in issues surrounding animal protection?
I have always been concerned with animal welfare issues and was one of the Lewisham Councillors who voted to ban circuses using wild animals from using Council property - Blackheath to be precise - well over 30 years ago when we became the first local authority in the UK to do so. Since elected as MP for Lewisham West 22 years ago, I have been a member of the All Party Animal Welfare Group and the All Party FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments) Group. Throughout this time I have lobbied every Government on a wide range of animal welfare matters and signed hundreds of Early Day Motions (EDMs) on related issues. I have also been a supporter of the International Fund for Animal Welfare for over 25 years and am a life member of both the League Against Cruel Sports and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
2. How long have you been working with the BUAV?
I first became involved with BUAV in the early eighties when it worked out of a minute office in Charing Cross Road.
3. How important do you find this issue amongst your constituents?
In my experience, public interest in all aspects of animal welfare has increased over time and it remains one of the most regularly prominent issues in my mailbox/postbag.
4. Do you share your home with any animals?
From early childhood I have always lived in a home shared with animals of all kinds and until last Sunday we had 2 very elderly (17) long-haired tabby cats who are sisters who we “acquired” as adults. Sadly, it is now just the one.
5. If you had one message to Government on animal experiments what would it be?
I hope that the Government will act swiftly to introduce firm targets for reducing the use of animals in scientific experiments and, in any event before the end of this Parliament.