Focus: Policy and Politics - In the Lobby

Ian Cawsey is Labour MP for Brigg and Goole and chair of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare. He won the ePolitix Animal Welfare Charity Champion award in December. He is also a vice-president of the RSPCA.

Cawsey helped the Donkey Sanctuary, based in Sidmouth, Devon, to stop the abuse of donkeys during traditional festivals in the village of Villanueva de la Vera in Spain. Each year, on Shrove Tuesday, someone rides a donkey through the streets and alcohol is poured down its throat. On one occasion a donkey was crushed to death by the crowd.

Last year Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, founder of the Elisabeth Svendsen Trust for Children and Donkeys and of the Donkey Sanctuary, brought the matter to the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare. Following a meeting, Cawsey decided to write a letter of complaint to the village authorities on behalf of the group. The Donkey Sanctuary, which still awaits a reply, decided to nominate Cawsey for the ePolitix Charity Champion awards in December.

Cawsey is also appreciated for giving the charity representatives a fair say during the group's meetings, as well as for his grip of animal welfare issues. "All members of parliament soon learn how important animal welfare is to their constituents," he said. "It is an issue that sparks genuine interest among members of all political persuasions."

The MP has also supported the RSPCA on many of its campaigns. In January he was appointed a vice-president of the charity. He will hold this position until September 2007.

He also introduced the Animal Sanctuaries (Licensing) Bill to Parliament in 2001.

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