The House of Lords has warned that Brexit could result in worse animal welfare standards in farming than are currently seen under EU law. This could be due to the UK being forced to accept cheaper, lower quality foods due to the trade deals which accompany Brexit.
The report states: “The government’s wish for the UK to become a global leader in free trade is not necessarily compatible with its desire to maintain high animal welfare standards.”
Lord Teverson, Chair of the sub-committee who wrote the report on the issue, explained the rising concerns for welfare standards in the UK. He said: “We urge the government to secure the inclusion of high farm animal welfare standards in any free trade agreements it negotiates after Brexit. The government will need to consider the effect of increasing standards on the competitiveness of UK producers as well as the future trading relationship with the EU.”
Animal rights activists fear that post-Brexit the UK may end up becoming like the US with methods such as chlorine-washing of meat which is standard practice in the States, but is currently banned here.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove has confirmed that he has no plans of allowing chlorinated chick in from the United States. When asked by the BBC’s Nick Robinson as to whether he thought the UK should be allowing imported chlorine-washed chicken meat after Brexit, he said: “No. I made it perfectly clear… We are not going to dilute our high food safety standards or our high environmental standards in pursuit of any trade deal.”