LABOUR candidate Lee Skevington has pledged his support for Vote Cruelty Free - a new non-partisan coalition of animal protection organisations working to put animals on the political agenda.

The alliance has sent its manifesto to all candidates announced for the next General Election and asked them to show their support for the issues raised.

And Mr Skevington, who will be standing for Labour in the next General Election in the Yeovil Constituency, said: "I and the Labour Party take animal welfare very seriously.

"We need to ensure animal welfare remains at the top of the political agenda. This is especially important for Yeovil as we have rural areas surrounding us where fox hunting continues to operate illegally.

"By joining the campaign I hope to send a message to those who engage in such cruel sports that this is both unacceptable and illegal."

A Vote Cruelty Free spokesperson said: “Animal protection is an issue close to the UK public’s heart but this is often not reflected in current political debate.

"It is fantastic that Lee Skevington has shown he believes in animal protection issues as much as his potential future constituents in Yeovil; we are calling on all candidates to follow his lead by pledging their support for Vote Cruelty Free.”

Vote Cruelty Free comprises the BUAV, Compassion in World Farming, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), League Against Cruel Sports and Respect for Animals.

It covers a broad range of animal welfare issues including wild and marine animals, animal experimentation, cruel sports, the fur trade and farming.

Vote Cruelty Free is urging all candidates to pledge their support for the initiative. Voters can track candidates who have signed up by visiting the website at www.votecrueltyfree.org or by clicking on the link in our "related articles" section.