Labour has launched what it calls a “radical” plan to improve animal welfare. This includes a ban on exports of live animals for slaughter, enshrining animal sentience in law and mandatory labelling of domestic and imported meat, including country of origin, method of production and slaughter (stun or non-stun).
The 50-point draft policy, published for public consultation, also proposes a total ban on imports of foie gras. Post-Brexit farm subsidies should be designed to move away from intensive factory farming and “bad environmental practices”, the party said.
Shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman also wants to end the use of cages on British farms and consult on the expansion of “mega farms”. She said industrialised farming has increased under the Conservative government and “poses serious questions” in relation to animal welfare post-Brexit.
Hayman said: “With new trade deals on the horizon and the UK no longer subject to EU-wide rules on animal welfare, we want to ensure there is a comprehensive legislative agenda in place so that the UK becomes a world leader on animal rights.”
The environment secretary Michael Gove has promised to ensure that animal welfare standards will not fall when the UK leaves the European Union. However, concerns remain that sacrifices will be made in order to strike a trade deal with the US.
Kath Dalmeny, chief executive of Sustain, the food and farming alliance said: “The point about their use of chlorine is that it is used to mask low animal welfare and poor farming standards, which the British public will just not accept. We should not have to lower our standards to strike trade deals.”
According to an investigation by the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics this month, the use of antibiotics in US farming is five times higher than in UK production.