SINCE the “Animal Welfare” Minister, Jim Paice, took the reins at Defra a year ago, there has been a cascade of measures designed to weaken animal protection, with the latest – the decision not to ban wild animals in circuses – being based on legal advice that turned out to be utterly wrong.

In only 12 months, Mr Paice has also overturned a ban on battery cages for game birds; as Hunting and Shooting Minister, committed to a repeal of the Hunting Act; routinely voiced his support for a badger cull, while at the same time ending badger vaccination trials; dropped charges against slaughterhouse offenders; reduced the number of vets at markets; stated his intention to reduce on-farm inspections; declared his support for the offspring of cloned animals to be killed for their meat and milk; and backed the sustainable intensification of the livestock industry.

Animal Aid has branded Mr Paice “the worst animal-welfare Minister in living memory” and I think it is now time for him to resign.

Kate Fowler, Head of Campaigns, Animal Aid, The Old Chapel, Bradford Street, Tonbridge, Kent.