Animal welfare standards in farming after the UK leaves the EU
Published Thursday, January 19, 2017
This pack has been prepared ahead of the debate on Animal Welfare Standards in Farming after the UK leaves the EU (Brexit), to be held in Westminster Hall on Tuesday 24 January 2017 430-530pm. The Member in charge of this debate is the Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP.
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Animal welfare is a devolved issue. The welfare of animals involved in commercial operations (i.e. those animals that are farmed) is subject to a substantial body of EU regulation; the RSPCA estimates that around 80 per cent of UK animal welfare laws originate from the EU. The terms of the Brexit negotiations will have a significant impact upon what animal welfare protections are adopted, amended or discarded.
EU farm animal welfare regulations
Currently, the EU legislates on issues affecting the operation of the internal market and the free movement of animals. Council Directive 98/58/EC on the protection of animals kept for farming purposes provides general rules for the protection of animals. This EU legislation sets down minimum standards; national governments may adopt more stringent rules than this. The EU rules are based on the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes, and they reflect the so-called ‘Five Freedoms’:
•Freedom from hunger and thirst
•Freedom from discomfort
•Freedom from pain, injury and disease
•Freedom to express normal behaviour
•Freedom from fear and distress.
Similar legislation implementing EU animal welfare regulations exists in England and all of the devolved assembles. Accompanying the legislation in each country are codes of practice, which provide welfare recommendations for those involved in the farming industry.
Live animal exports
EU rules to protect live animals during transport and related operations were agreed in 2004, and implemented in the UK in 2007, though there have still been a number of campaigns against such exports on welfare grounds. These regulations only apply to animals transported for commercial operations. The Council Regulation was implemented in the England by the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006, and by parallel legislation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
There have been a number of campaigns seeking to either ban live animal transport altogether, or to limit how far (and long) an animal can be transported on welfare grounds. Some of these campaigns have focussed on live animal exports through the Ports of Ramsgate and Dover, and specific events in 2012 when 40 sheep were euthanised on welfare grounds at the Port of Ramsgate. The National Farmers Union (NFU) is broadly supportive of live animal exports.
Antimicrobial resistance in farm animals
In the past, it was normal practice for antimicrobials to be added to animal feed across the world in order to stimulate livestock growth and so maximise productivity. A ban on the use of antibiotics as growth promoters was implemented first in the UK and then in other European countries and Canada. The practice continued unchanged, however, in the United States and also continued to some extent in Europe, but with agents that were not used therapeutically in humans. An EU-wide ban on the use of antimicrobials as growth promoters came into force on 1 January 2006. The addition of antimicrobials to animal feed for medical purposes (either as prophylactics or as treatment for existing disease) is not affected by this ban. On 10 September 2014, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation on veterinary medicinal products.
Brexit and farm animal welfare: the same protections, stronger or weaker?
Currently, national governments may adopt more stringent rules than the EU animal welfare legislation—which sets down minimum standards. However, the UK Government has been resistant to ‘gold-plating’ EU regulations in the past over fears that this would weaken UK competiveness. In October, Defra’s Secretary of State stated that the UK’s unique selling point after we leave the EU “should be the highest standards of animal welfare, and the highest standards of food traceability.”
It is currently expected that leaving the EU will result in alternative trade and support arrangements for UK agriculture. The terms of Brexit negotiations and trade deals will go a long way towards determining what animal welfare protections are adopted, amended or discarded. This may lead to the same, stronger or weaker regulations than those currently in force.
The Government has already committed to bringing forward a ‘Great Repeal Bill’ which will convert all existing EU law into domestic law “wherever practical”. However, there has been some concern that trading arrangements made with non-EU countries may result in a reduction in UK standards or in the standards of imported products. In order to operate on a ‘level playing-field’, farmers may call for the removal of welfare regulations which would allow them to compete with producers in countries with lower animal welfare standards.
Commons Debate packs CDP-2017-002
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Animal Welfare after Brexit ( PDF, 263.8 KB)
Time to stop this Barbaric Practice
Wire snares are indiscriminate, inhumane and unnecessary. CHRIS PITT of the League Against Cruel Sports has the facts to prove it.
Of all the cruelties humans have inflicted on animals over the centuries, the wire snare is once of the worst and Moist enduing.
Simple in design, devastating in effect, a tool of poachers throughout the ages, the snare is now commonly used for another purpose.
Around 260,000 snares are in use at any one time, catching 1.7 million animals each year. However, snares are only used and 5 per cent of landholdings
in England and Wales — primarily for use by gamekeepers to protect shooting interests.
The grouse and pheasant-shooting industry is big business, so the snares are used to keep the birds safe from predators (would sound worthy, if the birds
weren’t being protected just so they can be shot).
* A poll last year found that 77 per cent of the public think that snares should be illegal, and 68 per cent of MPs support a ban on snares.
Yet they are still legal, and that is something that we at the League Against Cruel Sports believe must be changed.
Snares are legal for use on rabbits and foxes, however a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) report has shown that on average,
seven out of 10 of the animals caught by snares were neither foxes nor rabbits.
Hares and badgers are often caught, while many others caught include pet cats and dogs. Snares are indiscriminate.
Focusing on foxes as the prime target, some will argue — as they do with hunting — that livestock needs to beprotected. There are two points here-that
should bexaised.First, empirical evidence shows that fox predation accounts for only a very small proportion of lanib losses, with 95 per cent of
lamb deaths due to farm husbandry Second, killing fates is pointless — another fox will Blithe space within three to four days.
Back to snares. The so-called “free-running neck snares” that are legal are, intended to hold a trapped animal alive until the snare operator returns
and kills it “Free-running” means that the wire tightens as the animal struggles and is meant to relax when it stays still. The reality thougliis
that many animals die in the snaresThis will be a slow, painful death from strangulation, evisceration, expesure to the elements, predation,
starvation or dehydration.
Defra avoids claims that snares should be banned by Saying that their use is controlled by a code of practice. The department’s snare reportin 2012
found that 95 per cent of gamekeepers were aware of the code of practice, yet not a single fox snare operator they visited during the production of
the report was fully compliant with it.
To check this for ourselves, our investigators took some secret footage to see if snare operators were following the code of practice. Within just
a couple of minutes we recorded several violations to the code.
These incbsled setting snares along a fence line where the animal become tangled, setting snares near to a hole into which they can fall-strangle
themselves, setting them in bad weather as they could die of cold or exposure, and not removing a snare from a location at which an animal had been killed
by a snare. A snare was also deliberately used to catch a pheasant, which is illegal under Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981)
I think this shows that it is simply impossible to enforce regulations: a practice that occurs mainly on private land in remote locations.
Last week we called on MPs from all parties to ban snares outright. Britain is is one of only five countries lef the EU where snares are
completely legal, and frankly this is shame. Snares are indiscriminate, inhumane and unnecessary. Their time is over.
* The secret footage can be view at http://bit.ly/1Cgr8gT.
* Chris Pitt is deputy director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports. To find out more about sraring visit http://www.league.org.uk.
(From a article in the The Morning Star – email@example.com)
Yvonne the cow that escaped from a farm in Bavaria in May has been caught and thankfully the cow that stole the hearts of the German people in her fight for animal liberation is now at Gut Aiderbichl animal sanctuary where activists originally paid €600 to prevent her slaughter.
Although initially there was a €10,000 reward placed on her capture where she managed three months on the run before a farmer reported seeing her on his land.
Konrad Gutmann, 46, claimed the €10,000 reward by the German tabloid Bild – after seeing what he thought was a lonely animal wandering towars his land to befriend his cows.”It was just luck really. I was out taking a tour of my electric fence with my daughter Melanie at about 6pm when I saw Yvonne on the other side staring at the young cows. “. In an interview with the Daily Mail he describes how after initially “She was very nervous,’ he herded her to his field.
The animal sanctuary that now owns Yvonne confirmed that the cow had been moved to her new home. She has been identified by the tag on her ear to being the missing cow.
The Ordinance will go into effect on September 19th! What this means is that NO business is allowed to sell fur garments of any kind.
PETA India has been bombarded with complaints from people who were horrified to learn from this news video that a donkey was brutally killed in Churu on 7 August 2011. We have been informed by locals that this cruelty took place on the order of Govind Mhansariya, Chair of Nagar Parishad, Churu district.
The video footage shows that the donkey was pushed and pulled to ground before being crushed to death by a bulldozer. The killing reportedly took place because some local residents thought the donkey might have rabies because the donkey had been examining a dead dog – even though this behaviour is not a confirmatory symptom for rabies.
Besides being an act of gross cruelty, torturing an animal is an illegal and punishable offense under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Further, a procedure for the destruction of ill and suffering animals is set out in the act, and a government veterinarian should have been called to provide a medical opinion on the matter and to euthanise the animal humanely if required.