Search icon

A better future ahead for farmed animals

News Section Icon Published 12/05/2021

Istock 963820794 (1)

Today (12th May), we welcome Defra’s new Action Plan for Animal Welfare, setting out the steps needed to create a more humane, healthy, and sustainable food and farming future. The plan – which covers companion animals, wildlife and animals farmed for food – sets out steps that the UK Government pledges to take to improve animal welfare.

Consigning barbaric practices to the history books

The farm animal topics laid out in the Action Plan include:

  • Banning live exports for fattening & slaughter
  • Exploring a ban on the sale of foie gras
  • Examining the use of cages for poultry & farrowing crates for pigs

As we have been tirelessly campaigning for these changes for many years, this important step represents a real opportunity to end factory farming and create a better future for all farm animals.  

James West, our Senior Policy Manager, said: “We are delighted that Defra appears set to ban the cruel trade of live exports, the sale of foie gras and end the use of cages for poultry and farrowing crates for pigs, once and for all. We eagerly await the legislation that will consign these barbaric practices to the history books.”

Recognising animals as sentient beings

As set out in the Action Plan, we are also looking forward to seeing the UK Government’s proposals on animal sentience being introduced early in the new parliament, to replace the equivalent EU law that no longer applies in Britain.

Although the overall approach set out by Defra today is hugely encouraging, we now hope the Government will lead the way and place Britain as a global leader in farm animal welfare.

Positive Queen’s Speech

The Action Plan launch follows yesterday’s Queen’s Speech when the Government announced three new Bills relating to animal welfare:

  • The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill – this will recognise animals as sentient beings in UK law. It will replace Article 13 which was lost from UK law post-Brexit
  • Kept Animals Bill – including legislation “ending the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter”
  • Animals Abroad Bill – this will cover “low welfare experiences abroad” and may well include “steps to limit the trade and sale of foie gras”

“We welcome the Queen’s Speech, with its significant focus on animal welfare,” James continued. “Like London buses, you wait a lifetime for animal welfare legislation to appear and then three Bills come along at once!”

A revolution in animal welfare legislation

We hope that the Defra Action Plan and Bills are just the start of a revolution in animal welfare legislation. We will continue lobbying the Government to ensure they follow through with meaningful actions to improve farm animal welfare standards here in the UK.

Read the full Action Plan for Animal Welfare here.


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).