In the wake of January 1st delays are expected at our borders, especially at the Channel ports due to the extended checks required to move live animals between Great Britain and both the EU and Northern Ireland. Research has indicated that two extra minutes spent on each vehicle at the Port of Dover could more than triple the existing queues on the M20/A20. This could mean nearly five hours of traffic delays at peak times, with animals packed closely and without adequate care or feeding. And, this is before reaching the ports themselves!
In addition, all animals being moved for slaughter will be regulated by further tests and certification, meaning more delays. All these delays will result in increased levels of stress for the animals, and FOUR PAWS, alongside several other animal welfare charities as part of the UK-EU Animal Welfare Taskforce, is calling for ‘fast lanes’ or ‘green lanes’ to give priority to vehicles transporting animals. These were successfully tried and tested during the pandemic in some EU member states. In addition, rest stops should be made accessible for vehicles carrying animals allowing for intermediary care for the animals being transported.
Whilst in our eyes the optimum situation would see no animals transported, unfortunately they have been classified as ‘essential goods’ and their position as sentient beings has been overlooked.
But it’s not just the live transportation of animals that concerns us, it’s also the impact Brexit will have on the meat that is sold in the UK. Currently around 30% of our food comes from the EU. It’s been well documented in the press about the risk of hormone fed beef and chlorinated chicken flooding the UK shelves – neither of which comply with our animal welfare standards. Whilst at FOUR PAWS we’re calling for a reduction in meat consumption of up to 50% by 2030 and welcome policies to support this we have concerns about the unethical ways animals could be punished from 1st January. From mass culling to an inability to feed the animals (60% of animal feed comes from the EU), animals could feel the brunt of Brexit in the harshest ways possible. We must come together to ensure a better deal for animals is guaranteed.
What can I do to help animals?
There are lots of things you can do to help animals as the Brexit transition period comes to an end:
Write to your MP today or meet with them in person, and ask them to support a Better deal of Animals, where animal welfare is at the top of the agenda in trade negotiations
Sign petitions and support campaign actions – the more of us that work together, the greater our voice will be
Get informed and spread the word - be vocal on social media, and even tweet your MP or the Prime Minister, make your voice heard, together we can make a difference