Recently, Britain made history by voting to leave the European Union. We must use this momentous decision as a major opportunity to persuade the UK government to take positive steps to improve the lives of farm animals.
A future food and farming system
As the UK moves away from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), we have a blank canvas to develop a cohesive Food and Farming Policy that seeks to deliver the following:
- Producing nutritious food and promoting healthy diets
- Farming in ways that restore natural resources – soils, water, biodiversity – and then maintain them in good shape for future generations
- Achieving food security
- Ensuring that farming contributes to the Paris target of limiting temperature increases to ‘well below 2°C’
- Providing decent livelihoods for farmers
- Reducing farm antibiotics use
- Achieving high standards of animal welfare
We need to move away from industrial livestock production, a key driver to the detrimental impact of today’s farming on the environment, public health, antibiotic resistance, climate change and animal welfare.
CAP payments, which are primarily a subsidy for land ownership, should be replaced by post Brexit payments for ecosystem services and high animal welfare standards.
A more ambitious approach to animal welfare
With the UK no longer bound by EU rules, we are now able to adopt a more ambitious approach to farm animal welfare. We call on the UK government to:
- Ban the export of live animals for slaughter or fattening
- Protect UK farmers from low welfare imports
- Encourage a move from factory farming to free-range systems
- Halt the zero-grazing of dairy cows
- Phase out enriched cages for laying hens
- Improve the welfare of pigs
This is a real opportunity to make changes for the better. Animals should be back on the land where they belong, replacing factory farming with extensive farming methods which provide high animal welfare and environmental standards.
That’s why we are releasing a new Charter for Food, Farming and Animal Welfare. The government must act now and adopt these policies – for the good of the animals, the people and the planet.