Future UK trade deals must not compromise animal welfare and public health

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The UK’s animal welfare and food production standards are among the highest in the world. (1)

The majority of our current animal welfare legislation comes from the EU, including the recognition of animals as sentient beings - this means we recognise animals have the capacity to feel pain or suffer.

The laws in the USA regarding animal husbandry and food production permit lower standards than in the UK or the EU. High profile examples of this include:

  • The production of eggs from hens kept in battery cages
  • The chlorine washing of chicken 
  • The treatment of cattle and pigs with growth hormones

All of these practices are currently banned in the UK.

Over the next 11 months the government is looking to forge new trade deals with the USA and other countries.

There is huge pressure from the Trump administration and powerful US lobby groups for the UK to drop our high animal welfare and food production standards in order to forge trade deals post-Brexit. (2) (3) (4)

This will result in the British public eating meat, eggs and dairy products produced to lower animal welfare standards than are currently allowed. It would also result in British farmers having to compete against imports that have been produced to a lower standard.

The British Veterinary Association is also calling for our high standards of animal health, animal welfare, public health, and food safety to be included in any future trade deals. (6)

We call on the government to ensure future trade deals do not compromise current UK farm animal welfare and public health standards. 

This can be achieved by:

  • Maintaining our current animal welfare and public health standards in legislation
  • Prohibiting the importation of animal products which are produced to lower standards than we currently enforce



(1) World Animal Welfare Protection Index

(2) Brexit: US insists chlorinated chicken must be on menu in any UK trade agreement

(3) Calls for food standards to be enshrined in law to avoid post-Brexit ‘betrayal’ of consumers

(4) Don't sacrifice us for trade deal, say UK farmers

(5) No-deal Brexit means return of battery eggs, farmers' union warns

(6) British Veterinary Association 'Trade after Brexit'