We have joined a coalition of 50 animal protection charities – including our friends at Animal Aid, HSI, IFAW, RSPCA and World Animal Protection – that are urging the Government not to waste a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’ to redefine our relationship with animals through a new animal health and welfare strategy.
The group has released a Green Paper, titled ‘Act Now For Animals’, which covers the welfare of companion animals, wildlife, exotics, and animals reared for food. The report sets out 40 recommendations, including more than a dozen that relate to improving farm animal welfare.
Recommendations to improve farm animal welfare
Farm animal proposals laid out in the paper include:
- Ending live export of farm animals for slaughter and further fattening, and reducing journey times for domestic transport
- Banning the import and sale of foie gras
- Banning the use of high levels of carbon dioxide gas for the killing of pigs
- Phasing out farrowing crates for sows by 2027 and replacing them with free farrowing systems
- Phasing out enriched cages for hens by 2026
- Implementing legislation to better protect broiler (meat) chickens, including reducing stocking densities and only permitting the use of higher welfare breeds
- Requiring mandatory method of production labelling for food products in the UK and those imported under trade deals
- Investing funds in farmed fish welfare research and humane killing technologies, with a view to developing legislation for humane fish slaughter
Urgent steps needed
Our Global CEO, Philip Lymbery, said: “Compassion has been calling on the UK Government to take urgent steps to improve the welfare of farmed animals by introducing much needed animal welfare reforms. Now is the time to introduce legislation that requires animal sentience to be given all due regard when formulating and implementing policy, as well as delivering on the promise of finally ending the cruel and unnecessary live exports trade, for both slaughter and fattening.
“It is essential that the Government also brings forward the proposals to introduce mandatory method of production labelling for all raw and processed meat and dairy products and moves to End the Cage Age for the 16 million UK animals confined in cages every year.
“Underpinning this will be the approach the Government takes to trade policy. Animal welfare, food and environmental standards must not be sacrificed in the pursuit of new trade deals. The UK should be engaged in a race to the top, supporting British farmers rather than undermining hard fought for animal welfare protections.”
An opportunity to build a world-leading animal welfare strategy
Chris Packham, one of our wonderful Patrons, who has lent his support to the coalition, added: “The last animal welfare strategy was 17 years ago in 2004 and so much has changed since then. The past two decades have seen an attitudinal change in the public and growing scientific understanding that animals have emotions, feelings and needs and deserve a good life.
“We must act now for animals and ensure the Government does not squander this opportunity to build a world-leading animal welfare strategy, fit for the 21st century and deserving of this nation of animal lovers.”
Other influential names backing the action include DJ Sara Cox, TV personality Angela Rippon, choreographer and TV presenter Arlene Phillips, actress and wildlife campaigner Virginia McKenna and actress Carol Royle.
You can read the full report and recommendations here.