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MP fights for Britain’s high animal welfare standards to be protected

January 23, 2022 4:54 PM

Tim at Gowbarrow Hall FarmOn the floor of the House of Commons this week, local MP Tim Farron accused Conservative ministers of selling out Britain's high animal welfare standards in their trade deal with Australia.

The RSPCA have warned that the deal would "betray the public, farmers and animals" and could set back animal welfare by decades.

Australia currently has much lower legal standards on animal welfare than the UK, including:

  • mulesing - cutting off sheep rear ends, including skin and flesh, often without anaesthetic
  • barren battery cages for hens
  • chlorinated chicken
  • sow stalls - extreme confinement for pregnant pigs
  • growth hormone treatment for beef
  • journey times of up to 48 hours without rest and live exports

Speaking during a debate on the Government's Animal Welfare Bill, Tim said: "If we sign trade deals with countries whose animal welfare standards are poorer than ours, we will put ourselves into a position where we are worse than we were before we left the EU.

"The most recent example is our trade deal with Australia. It is important to recognise that the new Animal Sentience Committee will have no powers, as far as we can tell, to ensure that those deals - and further deals in the future - do not undermine animal welfare. It is not just a question of the treatment of animals and recognition of their sentience within the borders of this country; it is also a question of how countries that we deal with, in our name, treat those animals.

"If sovereignty means anything, it means our ability to affect other countries in so far as they relate to us; in the trade deal with Australia, we have failed to do that."