Blog: Surgical Mesh and Animal Sentience

You may recall reading in my column about the issue of surgical mesh impacts and how these have caused untold suffering, misery, distress and anxiety experienced by women in West Cornwall. I referred to it in a Parliamentary debate where I stated that for many their experience could and should have been avoided. Surgical mesh implants are medical devices used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence. These have been used widely and, on occasions, when non-surgical interventions would have been more appropriate. I was delighted to hear on Monday that health watchdog NICE has stated that these mesh implants should be banned. I hope the NHS will also take note of the voices of those who continue to suffer and that of cross-party MPs, including myself, who have called for a ban on these surgical implants. This is a good example of MPs, putting party politics to one side and fighting for those whose voices go otherwise unheard. This announcement will not help the many women, and some men, who have undergone surgery but it will avoid further avoidable suffering if the NHS follows the NICE recommendations.

Printed and social media became rather animated following a vote in the Commons regarding animal welfare. For those who follow closely, Conservative MPs voted against an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill which proposed to transfer the current EU instrument – Article 13 – designed to address animal welfare, across into UK law . The difficulty for me and my colleagues is that, as we transfer legislation, we want to get it right first time and Article 13 does not have direct affect in law – in practice its effect is very unclear and it has failed to prevent practices across the EU which are cruel and painful to animals. I voted against a faulty amendment and Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has said that changes required to UK law will be made in a "rigorous and comprehensive" way to ensure animal sentience is recognised after the UK leaves the EU. The Government is proposing to increase maximum sentences for animal cruelty and the creation of a new statutory, independent body to uphold environmental standards. Sadly, people from across the UK have been exposed to what is in effect fake news, further undermining trust in our political system.