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Clucking with joy over Defra deregulation U-turn

News Section Icon Published 08/04/2016

Broiler chickens on perch.jpg

Yesterday the UK government took an important u-turn, dropping their planned deregulation of the poultry codes which threatened to leave animal welfare in the hands of the industry itself.

Preventing a backward step

We congratulate Defra on making this decision to prevent a backward step in animal welfare which would have seen them abandon their duties to animal welfare.

Following a barrage of media interest around this contentious issue, Compassion in World Farming is delighted that Defra have made the sensible decision to maintain the animal welfare codes we, and countless other animal welfare organisations have fought to protect.

These codes, although not nearly enough to safeguard farm animals from cruelty, offer an important step on the road to increased animal welfare standards throughout the food and farming industry and have the potential to set the UK apart as a world-leader on animal welfare.

More work to be done

Right now, we must act swiftly to strengthen and update these animal welfare codes. As Peter Stevenson, our Chief Policy Advisor says: “We are delighted that Defra has listened to public concerns and decided to drop its plan to scrap the statutory welfare codes.

“It must now move quickly to update and strengthen the codes. And it must enforce its code requirement that, when chickens are being loaded up for transport to the slaughterhouse, they must be caught and carried by two legs not just one.”

Whilst we are delighted to hear this news, we will continue to work closely with Defra to ensure that the highest levels of animal welfare are upheld throughout the UK and beyond. 

Take action

Please consider writing to Liz Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to call on Defra to update and strengthen the codes.

Suggested text:

I thank Defra for responding to public concerns and dropping its plan to scrap the statutory welfare codes.

I urge Defra to now enforce its code requirement that, when chickens are being loaded up for transport to the slaughterhouse, they must be caught and carried by two legs not just one.

I also urge you to swiftly update and strengthen the codes. For example the dairy code should require cows to be kept outdoors on pasture during the grass growing season.

Finally, Defra should also drop its proposed 25 year plan on food and farming. The plan fails to take any account of animal welfare; it will lead to further animal suffering due to its focus on increasing productivity, competitiveness and agri-tech all of which will lead to further industrialisation of farming.

Send your email to:

Compassion has worked hard to achieve this victory along with many other animal welfare organisations including Animal Aid, Animal Equality, Four Paws, HIS, PETA, RSPCA, VIVA! and WAP. 


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