High animal welfare standards should be supported

The RSPCA has called on the government to help support and strengthen high animal welfare practices post-Brexit. 

The organisation praised the House of Lords’ European Committee report on Brexit, released on Tuesday, which recommended measures on ensuring good welfare continue to be practised once the UK leaves the European Union.

“Securing the means to ensure that farm animal welfare is as high as possible post-Brexit is such an enormous issue for the farming industry, and the public as consumers,” said David Bowles, RSPCA head of public affairs. “The report gives some clear recommendations to the government on how to achieve this. We need to be cautious about claiming high standards of welfare across the board, but there are many examples of good practice across the country and these should be supported and strengthened.”

The RSPCA highlighted that it gave oral and written evidence of practices to the committee. An opinion poll carried out by the organisation showed that eight out of 10 people wanted to see the protection of animal welfare continued after Brexit.

“In particular, we agree that the government should seek to maintain and improve animal welfare standards post-Brexit, ensure products are not imported to lower welfare standards in any trade agreement, that they look at mandatory labelling schemes to give consumers the information they are looking for, and ensure support for farmers producing to higher welfare standards through the new farm support scheme.

“The RSPCA also agreed that we need a new independent body, giving evidence-based advice to the government, to replace the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) when we leave the EU,” continued Bowles.

“The Farm Animal Welfare Council could form the basis of a replacement body, provided it is given adequate resources, has appropriate membership to ensure the necessary scientific rigour currently associated with EFSA, and is transparent.”

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