Parliamentary Affairs 67(4) pp 907-934

This study uses mixed methods to explore the issue salience and policy framing of animal welfare in UK state-wide parties’ Westminster election manifestos and parliamentary Early Day Motions. Over the past three decades there has been a gradual increase in salience, accompanied by a Left–Right cleavage. The latter is a function of contrasting framing practices and levels of political prioritisation. The Left exhibits a greater general propensity to advance animal welfare measures, whilst the Right is more reliant on the actions of individual MPs. Overall this study confirms that the status of animal welfare as a policy issue remains ‘fragile’; whilst no longer excluded from party programmes, significant further work remains before it is fully mainstreamed into the formative phase of policy-making in UK electoral politics.