The Liberal Democrats party has said, if elected, it will improve standards of animal health and welfare in agriculture by preventing “unnecessarily painful” farming practices.

In its manifesto ahead of the General Election on July 4, the party also said it would introduce a ban on caged hens.

The Liberal Democrats said the measures will help ensure Britain continues to be a world leader in animal welfare and standards.

It also said it will pass a comprehensive new Animal Welfare Bill, develop safe and “humane” ways to control bovine tuberculosis (bTB) through vaccines and at least match the EU’s stricter rules on preventative use of antibiotics.


The party said it is committed to providing farmers and fishers with a “fair deal”, by introducing a range of other ‘public money for public goods’ programmes such as nature recovery, planting trees and protecting wildlife.

This will be contingent on farmers and land managers opting into an Environmental Land Management scheme.

The Liberal Democrats also said it will explore additional funding options to ensure an “intelligent transition” to better farming practices.

It promised to invest in rural and coastal infrastructure and services, including local abattoirs, so that communities are “viable and can attract and retain workers”, particularly from younger age groups.

Other measures the party said it will implement, if elected, include:

  • Using public procurement policy to support the consumption of food produced to high standards of environmental and social sustainability, and which is “nutritious, healthy and locally and seasonally sourced”;
  • Renegotiating the Australia and New Zealand trade agreements in line with its objectives for health, environmental and animal welfare standards, withdrawing from them if that cannot be achieved;
  • Ensuring that sustainability lies at the heart of fisheries policy, rebuilding depleted fish stocks to achieve their former abundance, including a ban on bottom trawling in marine protected areas.

‘Botched transition’ from BPS

“Farmers are key allies in tackling climate change and the nature crisis, caring for and restoring the countryside while producing high-quality food for our tables,” Liberal Democrats said.

“But their ability to do this is threatened by the Conservative government’s botched transition away from the Basic Payment Scheme.

“We support the move to public money for public goods, but many farmers are seeing their incomes threatened as old payments are cut and new payments are not fully rolled out or properly funded.”

Meanwhile, the party said farmers have had to contend with increases in bills for energy, fertilisers and feed.

“It is hardly surprising we have seen food shortages in the supermarkets,” it said.

“The Conservatives’ botched deal with the EU is also contributing to food shortages and high food prices, and severely damaging farmers’ and fishers’ ability to export to their main markets in Europe, while new trade deals undermine animal welfare and environmental protection, undercutting responsible British farmers and setting a dangerous precedent for future deals.

“Liberal Democrats will stand up for British farmers and ensure everyone can get affordable, healthy and nutritious food, produced to high welfare and environmental standards.”