Debate Reveals Opportunities to Improve Farm Animal Welfare After Brexit

UK - A commons debate about farm animal welfare post-Brexit saw the Government confirm leaving the EU offers an opportunity to improve welfare standards in areas such as slaughter, farm support systems and labelling, according to the RSPCA.
calendar icon 27 January 2017
clock icon 3 minute read

During the debate held on Tuesday (24 Jan), the Government made explicit and detailed comments about how they saw post-Brexit farming evolve.

The debate comes weeks after a poll by the RSPCA revealed eight out of ten people want animal welfare laws improved or at least kept the same after we leave the EU.

RSPCA assistant director of external affairs David Bowles said: “There’s no doubt that Brexit is going to be a complex issue and a lot of legislation covering farm animals in particular will need to be reviewed, but we are delighted the Government are considering the opportunities Brexit gives to improve farm welfare and also consider rewarding farmers who rear to higher welfare standards.”

Many speakers voiced concerns for the current lack of mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses and spoke about the potential to introduce set guidelines for quality control on the placement of cameras and quality and review process of the footage. Others spoke about the risk to UK farmers who rear higher welfare products from the UK being undercut by the import of low-welfare, cheaper products.

Another popular topic was that of a clear, concise food labelling system, where consumers could easily identify products that have been raised in high welfare conditions by UK farmers, along with a clear mark to identify if the animal had been slaughtered with or without stunning - something the RSPCA is extremely keen to back.

David Bowles added: “For many years the RSPCA has campaigned for a clear food labelling system which would leave no room for consumers to be confused as to where and how the meat they are purchasing was reared and slaughtered. Non-stunned animal meat can enter the conventional food market without labelling, and we have always felt consumers should be able to easily make that choice.”

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