This is a pivotal year for UK farm animals, as decision makers set out the future of agricultural policy for decades to come.
The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has previously claimed that high standards of animal welfare, environmental protection, and food safety will be upheld post-Brexit. However, there are growing concerns that the UK Government will slash those standards to secure a “good deal” on trade with countries like the US, despite significant opposition from MPs.
Without clear rules in place, the UK risks importing food produced using methods that are illegal in British agriculture – like washing chicken with chlorine to compensate for dirty, intensive farming conditions. This, in turn, risks washing away the animal welfare standards that the country holds so dear. Can’t the Government see that animal suffering is too high a price to pay for a free trade deal?
Sacrificing UK farming standards could also threaten human health. For example, since antibiotic use in US farming is more than five times higher than in the UK, there is a greater risk of accelerating the spread of drug-resistant bacteria.
Plus, a bad deal would mean products like hormone-treated beef, from low welfare feedlots overseas, could be sold more cheaply than food from free range animals. So, the Government would be threatening the livelihoods of higher welfare farmers – and allowing even more cruelty to creep onto supermarket shelves.
Thanks to people like you, the world is finally waking up to the true cost of intensive farming for people, animals and planet. But there is still a danger that new UK trade deals could take a step backwards, for British animals and animals worldwide.
Please urge the UK Government to stand on the right side of history and keep animal welfare off the negotiating table.
We will also be inviting celebrities and companies to join you in signing the letter. Our aim: a society united, helping to put compassion into trade deals and protect farm animals for generations to come.