Disappointing developments in Parliament last week saw over half of MPs voting against a proposed amendment to the Agriculture Bill to ensure food hygiene and animal welfare standards remain at the level of British standards in post-Brexit trade negotiations. This is devastating news for animals and, with time running out as we edge closer to the end of the Brexit transition period, we must take action to secure a #BetterDealforAnimals.
As part of the #BetterDealforAnimals coalition, in 2019 we joined numerous other NGOs in handing in a petition to 10 Downing Street signed by over 100,000 people. This showed overwhelming support from the UK public who are calling for animal sentience to be recognised under UK law after we leave the EU.
Animal sentience is currently enshrined in UK law under Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty. This recognises animals as sentient beings, aware of their feelings and emotions, however once we leave the EU on 1st January 2021, animals will no longer be protected under this legislation.
It is now one year on from the Government’s commitment to ensure animal sentience is enshrined in UK law, but these promises have not been kept!
This latest vote from 337 MP’s is a devastating blow to this work for animals. Without these necessary standards, the UK government could allow imports of currently-banned products to secure trade deals with countries such as the USA. Examples of this include hormone-fed beef and chlorine-washed chicken, where the meat is treated with chlorine to kill potential bacteria, due to lower animal welfare standards than the EU currently allows.
“Without this amendment the Bill lacks any formal requirement to uphold our farming production standards as we negotiate trade deals and in our general trade policy," NFU Cymru president John Davies said.
This Bill has missed an unique opportunity to ensure our higher animal welfare standards are protected here at home.With supermarkets like Waitrose and Aldi stepping up and committing to not selling lower-welfare products after Brexit, the Government is failing to deliver what the British public and farming industry demand. That’s why we must speak up to urge the Government to ensure we only import products where animal welfare and food hygiene standards are at least as high as our own, to protect both animals and human health.
Take Action to Secure a #Betterdealforanimals!
You can help to ensure animal welfare is protected under UK law by contacting your MP. Just take the following steps:
1) Find your MP by typing in your postcode here
2) On your MP’s contact page, click ‘Send a message’ and copy and paste the following text:
I am disappointed to see that overhalf of MPs have rejected an amendment to protect farmers and animals from lower-standard food imports despite the Government's previous commitments to safeguard the industry. I am horrified to see animal welfare reduced to the lowest priority in trade negotiations and implore you to speak up for animals.
We know animals are sentient beings with feelings and emotions, and they desperately need this recognition enshrined in UK law after we leave the EU on 1st January 2021.
This is why, as a member of your constituency, I urge you to support a #BetterDealforAnimals and call on the Minister for the Environment to honour the Government’s commitment to retain the UK’s animal welfare standards in future trade negotiations.
3) Send your message and please keep up the pressure on your MP to ensure they support this vital protection for animals!