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IMPORTING ANIMAL CRUELTY: THE SECRET SUFFERING BEHIND THE UK’S FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS 

Following the recently signed Free Trade Agreement with Australia, FOUR PAWS UK, RSPCA and the Trade and Animal Welfare Coalition gathered MPs in Parliament to highlight the harsh realities behind the lower standards being allowed into the UK.

25.5.2022

24, May 2021 – The Parliamentary reception included speeches by the Shadow Minister for Animal Welfare, Ruth Jones MP for Newport West, Mark Pearson MP for New South Wales, Australia and the Chair of the Trade and Agriculture Commission, Professor Lorand Bartels.

“The Government have consistently assured the public that there will be no lowering of standards in trade deals. But despite this they have agreed a deal that will remove tariffs without conditionality, undermining our own animal welfare protections and opening the floodgates for more countries to request the same. 

So today I am joining FOUR PAWS UK, RPSCA and The Trade and Animal Welfare Coalition in calling on the Government to adopt core animal welfare standards in UK trade policy.”

Shadow Minister for Animal Welfare Ruth Jones MP for Newport West

MPs and Peers were shown footage collected from an Australian farm highlighting the undeniable suffering sheep endure every day and how the UK could be complicit in this cruelty.

The graphic video depicts mulesing being carried out on young lambs aged between 2-12 weeks. Once the process is completed, the lambs are cast aside to stumble back to their mothers, blood still oozing from their open wounds.

Despite being illegal here, under the new Free Trade Agreement with Australia, it is accepted that the UK will continue to be a destination for both meat and wool products from this cruelty.

But this isn’t the only example of our high animal welfare standards will be compromised. Barren battery cages, sow stalls, hormone-fed beef, hot branding, slaughterhouse CCTV and double the transit time for live exports are just a handful of examples where Australia’s animal welfare standards are far below the UK.

Allowing such animal cruelty into the UK has led FOUR PAWS UK, RSPCA and The Trade and Animal Welfare Coalition to call for a consolidated effort from the Government to ensure that UK trade policy adheres to core animal welfare standards.

"Despite more than 80% of UK citizens believing that UK animal welfare standards should apply to imports, the Government is not listening and is at risk of undermining hard fought for protections. Instead, the UK could become a major market for products produced under methods so cruel that they are illegal here. 
 
“If the UK is to uphold its reputation as a global leader in animal welfare, we need to ensure conditions are in place for trade in animal products that protect our high welfare standards.” 

Sonul Badiani-Hamment, Country Director, FOUR PAWS UK.

“Despite what the UK Government says, this deal provides a precedent. When we sit down with other countries such as India and Canada who want to export their products to the UK, their first request will be to have the same trade without preconditions that Australia got. Core standards are the only transparent and honest safeguard to implement.” 

David Bowles, Head of Public Affairs at RSPCA 

Learn more about mulesing here.

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Hannah Baker

Head of Communications UK 

hannah.baker@four-paws.org 

020 7922 7954 / 07966 032 235

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