Search icon

Compassion Alarmed by UK Trade Deal with Australia

News Section Icon Published 15/06/2021

Cattle Istock

Compassion in World Farming is very concerned by the potential impact of the free trade agreement between the UK and Australia. We are particularly troubled by the expectation that it will allow tariff-free access to agri-food products, and what that would mean for the UK’s farm animal welfare standards.

Protect hard-fought animal welfare standards

Dr Nick Palmer, Head of Compassion in World Farming UK, said:

“A tariff free trade deal on agri-food products from Australia risks completely decimating our hard fought for animal welfare standards, and seriously undermining the UK’s network of extensive, pasture-based farmers. Beef reared in feedlots, where the animals spend months in intensive conditions, fed largely on grain rather than grazing on pasture, should not be permitted tariff free access into the UK.

“Similarly, antibiotic use in Australian agriculture is also high. A recent report by the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics found that use per animal in poultry is over 16 times higher in Australia than the UK, whilst for pigs it is nearly three times higher.

“Compassion in World Farming is of course not opposed to trade deals. However, we are concerned that a deal with Australia, where hormone-treated beef and the barren battery caging of hens are still common, may involve concessions that then form a precedent for the US talks. It is vital that an Australian deal does not act as a Trojan horse, paving the way for the UK's higher standards to be undermined in the potentially much larger US FTA, or any other FTA the UK Government hopes to secure with major agricultural nations.”

For more information, please email

UK Australia Trade Deal Media Statement:

Download (PDF Size 0.17MB)

You are using an outdated browser which we do not support. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.

If you have any further questions regarding this, or any other matter, please get in touch with us at We aim to respond to all queries within two working days. However, due to the high volume of correspondence that we receive, it may occasionally take a little longer. Please do bear with us if this is the case. Alternatively, if your query is urgent, you can contact our Supporter Engagement Team on +44 (0)1483 521 953 (lines open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).