Compassion made a submission to the Animal Health and Welfare and Food Safety Report published by the UK government on July 22nd. The Report considered the roles of EU and UK legislation and whether the current "balance of competences" is about right or needs to be changed. The Report defines "competence" as "everything deriving from EU law that affects what happens in the UK".
In our submission we supported the UK in going further than EU legislation on animal welfare, where possible, and argued that on issues like banning veal crates and sow stalls, the UK had led the way.
It is sadly ironic that successive UK governments have been seen as champions of animal welfare throughout Europe using EU legislation to deliver gains that would never have been possible at the national level. Now we see the current government questioning the value of the gains that have done so much for animal welfare.
We believe it is vital that the EU continues to make and enforce good animal protection laws, as they apply to many millions more animals (in all 28 EU countries) than just a law made in one country.
This government has used European legislation as an excuse not to end the cruel and unpopular export of live animals to an uncertain fate on the continent. We would have thought if the government wanted to assert its national sovereignty in any area, it would be this one.
We were horrified to read that the NFU complained about the EU requirement for a more gentle angle of ramps for loading animals on trucks and that a UKIP MEP said that implementing EU animal welfare legislation was too costly for UK industry. Does he really want hens to continue their confinement in barren battery cages?
Knowing of the immense suffering cloning has caused to experimental animals, we were also disgusted to read that The Country Land and Business Association and the International Meat Trade Association said that a proposed ban on cloning would put societal concerns above science. We're happy to send them the scientific evidence that shows that cloning entails substantial animal suffering.
You can access the Report here.