As we said at the start of the ‘in / out’ EU elections in the UK in 2016; we have always felt that for animal welfare, the UK can continue to grow stronger on this issue when outside of the EU. It is very interesting to read the comment from Theresa which says:
“Live exports would probably have been banned long ago if Westminster not Brussels had been the decision-maker. It is time this cruel trade was stopped once and for all and I would like to see a ban come into force on the day we leave the EU”.
This is just one small issue in Europe (but a big campaign for us !) that the EU in Brussels is not really addressing, despite all the evidence provided to them showing the cruelty on a daily basis. The UK will hopefully take back control on this issue. As we said before, UK welfare groups can only grow stronger campaigning outside of the EU, and fight across all aspects for better welfare, INCLUDING (new) animal welfare negotiations with new nations when trade deals are established. For example, we could fight to ensure that Chinese fur products are never allowed into the UK; and we could use our campaigns to ensure that the UK government always puts animal welfare on its list of ‘to do’s’ when discussing new trade deals.
The Junker / Van Goethem ignorance and ‘EU do nothing’ attitude is about to change in the UK. We hope that other current EU member states see things from our angle and that by going it alone, they can take back control of their own regulations and set newer, higher standards; or in the case of the UK and animal welfare, fight to make thins even better than they currently are under EU rules.
Theresa Villiers MP will seek assurances from the (UK) Government that animal standards will at least remain at current levels when the UK leaves the EU.
High standards of animal welfare is one of the hallmarks of a civilised society. We have a long tradition in this country (UK) of protecting animals, often many years before others follow.
Around 80% of animal welfare rules are part of EU law. Leaving the EU means we have the chance to reaffirm our support for the highest standards of animal welfare.
It also gives us the opportunity to strengthen protection for animals as we design a new system of farm support to replace the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
In the debate I have tabled in Parliament, I will call on the Government to ensure that the forthcoming Great Repeal Bill maintains animal welfare standards at a level at least as high as they are today.
That does not necessarily mean every dot and comma of EU law in this area needs to be set in stone. There may be legislative options which maintain prevailing standards, but deliver that outcome in a more flexible way that better suits our domestic circumstances.
But the end result should be retention, not dilution, of laws which safeguard farm animals in this country; and our goal for the future should be further strengthening of that protection.
Food and farming is one of the most important sectors in the UK economy. We should use the CAP replacement to incentivise a move away from intensive industrial farming methods such as zero-grazing for dairy herds. Not only can intensive farming lead to unnecessary animal suffering, it can also involve the over-use of antimicrobials contributing to antibiotic resistance problems.
Continued financial support for agriculture is vital if we are to maintain high animal welfare standards. Whilst methods of good animal husbandry are being developed to keep the costs of maintaining animal welfare standards at reasonable levels, humane forms of agriculture will often cost more than intensive industrial production.
So agricultural support payments will be needed to ensure food produced with high welfare standards is not priced out of the market by cheaper less compassionate alternatives.
It will also be important to ensure that animal welfare is a significant consideration in future trade talks. We should not be afraid to ask those countries who wish to sell into our market to commit to acceptable standards of animal welfare. This should be reconcilable with WTO obligations, so long as a consistent approach is taken to different countries.
And lastly I will ask Ministers to bring forward legislation to bring to an end the export of live animals for slaughter in mainland Europe (exports to Ireland across our land border don’t give rise to the same concerns and should continue).
The enforcement of rules protecting animals transported over long distances is patchy and great suffering can occur. Live exports would probably have been banned long ago if Westminster not Brussels had been the decision-maker.
It is time this cruel trade was stopped once and for all and I would like to see a ban come into force on the day we leave the EU.
Theresa Villiers is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Chipping Barnet
Reproduced without edit from: https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/economy/agriculture/opinion/house-commons/82628/theresa-villiers-mp-leaving-eu-allows-uk
Other related articles:
Brexit: UK vets to remain ‘outward looking’ in securing animal welfare standards: