NEWS / Brexit

40 animal charities urge Government to improve welfare post-Brexit

The Government is told to take action on cruel puppy trade, live farm animal exports, foie gras and fur imports to ensure UK can maintain its role as pioneer for animals.

The Wildlife and Countryside Link, who are an observer of Sustain, have released a new report: ‘Brexit – getting the best deal for animals’. The report is supported by more than 40 of the UK’s animal welfare charities.

The report outlines ten top animal welfare opportunities which should be addressed during Brexit:

  1. Close loopholes in the Pet Travel Scheme that allow the trade in poorly bred pups from Central and Eastern European puppy-farms: If the UK raised standards by reintroducing blood testing requirements and improving border checks, it could help thousands of dogs affected
  2. Extend existing fur trade bans: Only the sale of cat, dog and seal fur is banned in the EU.
  3. Ban live exports for slaughter: Livestock legislation has remained the same for 12 years despite European scientists calling for improvements on conditions and journey times.
  4. Introduce strong welfare incentives in British farming: There is no meaningful animal welfare aspect in the existing Common Agricultural Policy, 80% of payments are essentially based on farm size. UK welfare incentives could help transform conditions for animals on British farms.
  5. Introduce new animal product labelling laws: At present meat and milk don’t have to be labelled to identify how they were produced. Mandatory egg labelling saw free-range sales soar and should be replicated into other areas to aid consumer choice.
  6. Ban imports of foie-gras: The UK has been unable to ban foie-gras imports because of the EU free movement of goods principle, despite a de facto UK ban on production already existing.
  7. Work with UK fisheries to promote humane catches:  Encouraging the UK fishing fleet to invest in new stunning technology would improve the welfare of billions of fish during capture.
  8. Introduce legal protection for crabs, lobsters, octopuses and squids in the Animal Welfare Bill: These animals aren’t protected by EU law outside of use in laboratories, despite being proven to experience pain and suffering, and being protected in countries like New Zealand and Norway.
  9. Adopt world-leading measures aimed at combatting wildlife trafficking and domestic wildlife crime: Wild animals are being widely exploited and traded in the UK despite EU legal protection. UK legislation enforcement should be bolstered post-Brexit to protect wild animals in trade by adopting a stricter ‘positive list’ approach – anything on the list can come in, anything not can’t.
  10. Commitment to ending 'severe' suffering' in animal experiments, keep the cosmetics testing ban: The UK should; maintain the EU testing and marketing ban on animal-tested cosmetics, improve transparency around the use of animals in research, commit to eliminating experiments causing ‘severe’ suffering, and invest in humane non-animal technologies – 74% of us want more done to find alternatives.

Sustain is working to improve food and farming conditions as the UK leaves the EU.



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Brexit: We stand at a cross-roads. When the UK leaves the European Union, will our leaders uphold good standards for our food, farming, fishing and trade deals? And will they agree a sensible deal with the EU? We need to make sure that they do!

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