Jenny supports call for core animal welfare standards in UK trade policy

Following the recently signed Free Trade Agreement with Australia, Baroness Jenny Jones of the Green Party joined FOUR PAWS UK, the RSPCA and the Trade and Animal Welfare Coalition in Parliament to highlight the harsh realities behind lower animal welfare standards being imported into the UK.

The Parliamentary reception included speeches in support of protecting UK animal welfare standards in trade policy by the Shadow Minister for Animal Welfare, Ruth Jones MP for Newport West, and Mark Pearson MP for New South Wales, Australia.  MPs and Peers were shown footage collected from an Australian farm highlighting the undeniable suffering sheep endure every day and how the UK could be complicit in this cruelty. 

The graphic video depicts mulesing being carried out on young lambs aged between 2-12 weeks. Once the process is completed, the lambs are cast aside to stumble back to their mothers, blood still oozing from their open wounds. 

Despite being illegal here, under the new Free Trade Agreement with Australia it is accepted that the UK will continue to be a destination for both meat and wool products from this cruelty.

Baroness Jones says

“It is imperative that core animal welfare standards are adopted in UK trade policy to ensure our high standards are protected, and not undermined or negotiated away in trade agreements.”

But this isn’t the only example of how our high animal welfare standards will be compromised. Barren battery cages, sow stalls, hormone-fed beef, hot branding, slaughterhouse CCTV and double the transit time for live exports are just a handful of examples where Australia’s animal welfare standards are far below the UK.

Allowing such animal cruelty into the UK has led FOUR PAWS UK, the RSPCA and the Trade and Animal Welfare Coalition to call for a consolidated effort from the Government to ensure that UK trade policy adheres to core animal welfare standards. 

FOUR PAWS UK Country Director Sonul Badiani-Hamment says:

Despite more than 80% of UK citizens believing that UK animal welfare standards should apply to imports, the Government is not listening and is at risk of undermining hard fought for protections. Instead, the UK could become a major market for products produced under methods so cruel that they are illegal here.

“If the UK is to uphold its reputation as a global leader in animal welfare, we need to ensure that equivocal standards are in place for animals in trade that protect our high standards.”

David Bowles, Head of Public Affairs at RSPCA says:

“Despite what the UK Government says, this deal provides a precedent. When we sit down with other countries such as India and Canada who want to export their products to the UK, their first request will be to have the same trade without preconditions that Australia got. Core standards are the only transparent and honest safeguard to implement.”

Learn more about mulesing here.


Notes to editor

* Savanta ComRes interviewed 2,079 UK adults online between the 10th and 13th July 2020

The footage was captured by Collective Fashion Justice, and shows that mulesing is a bloody process that involves the removal of the skin around lambs’ buttocks with shears, usually when they are between 2 and 12 weeks of age.