The Animal Interfaith Alliance is very disappointed that the Government failed to take this opportunity to prevent the import of lower animal welfare products into the UK after Brexit.
Neil Parish MP, Chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee put forward an amendment to the Agriculture Bill, NC2 “International trade agreements: agricultural and food products” that would prevent the import of animal products that had been raised to lower standards than those of the UK and protect food safety. This would have protected animal welfare and UK farmers.
On 13th May 2020, 328 MPs voted against the amendment (of which 326 were Conservative) and 277 voted for the amendment, defeating the amendment by 51 votes.
The Conservative manifesto stated: “In all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards”. However, they have failed to put this into law in the Agriculture Bill.
With increasing concerns about food safety following the Covid-19 outbreak which started in a wildlife market in Asia, where animal welfare and hygiene standards are extremely poor, this could not have come at a worse time. In addition to the disease concerns there are concerns that products using growth hormones and excessive anti-biotics could reach our shops – products which would be illegal to produce in the UK. This would also put unfair pressure on UK farmers to reduce standards.
We thank the 277 MPs who voted in favour of this amendment but question why those that voted against it would want to jeopardise UK health, UK farmers and UK animal welfare, and why they would not want to honour their manifesto commitment and put this into law.