‘RSPCA cannot stand by if animal welfare standards are trashed by government’

On Monday, October 12, MPs will vote on key amendments to the Agriculture Bill, changes which were recently supported by the Lords, to ensure that the UK’s farm animal welfare standards are protected.

However, reports indicate that the government is planning to betray the public and pressure MPs to vote against a proposed law in the bill which would stop food produced to lower welfare standards being allowed into the UK.

RSPCA polling conducted by Savanta ComRes showed that 83% of UK adults agree that the UK should not allow imports of food from the US that were produced at lower standards than those in the UK.

RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said:

“MPs must vote with their conscience when the Agriculture Bill returns to the Commons next week.

“The government made a manifesto promise to protect animal welfare in the UK as we leave the EU but they have so far refused to enshrine this promise into law.

Without clear legislation stopping food produced to lower welfare standards from our shores, we risk setting back animal welfare by decades, causing the suffering of more animals to produce the food on our plates and failing to protect British farmers.

The government may ‘betray’ the UK

Sherwood continued:

“If the government votes against this amendment, as recent reports suggest they will, they’re betraying the UK public’s strongly voiced wishes to maintain our hard-won high animal welfare standards and they’ll be threatening UK farmers’ livelihoods.

The RSPCA cannot stand by if our animal welfare standards are trashed by the government for the sake of a quick deal with the US or Australia.

With the looming prospect of a no-deal Brexit, the RSPCA has warned that without new laws we could open the floodgates to cheap products produced to lower welfare standards coming into the UK from places like the US, Canada and Australia.

“This could undercut UK farms, putting them out of business and filling supermarket shelves with lower welfare imports of egg products.”

As well as the much-discussed issue of chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-fed beef, the UK faces seeing products from pigs produced in sow stalls (banned here in the UK in 1999) and egg products from hens kept in barren battery cages.