Leaving the European Union means that the UK will, for the first time in decades, have agency over our agricultural policy.
Understandably our exit from the European Union has meant that I have received a great deal of correspondence from constituents related to our agricultural and environmental policy, in particular factory farming.
Animal welfare is an issue that people, including myself, are very passionate about. I am proud to support a Government that has always been committed to the highest standards of animal welfare. This Conservative Government’s strong commitment to this area is reflected in the fact that the UK is ranked at the top of a recent index, judging countries by their policy and legislation for animal welfare, by World Animal Protection.
Recent changes to legislation regulating the quality of hen cages show UK Government protection in action. On top of this the Government has also announced plans to make CCTV mandatory in slaughterhouses.
It is my personal view that animals ought to be slaughtered locally wherever possible. However at the moment it is illegal under EU law to ban the export of live animals for slaughter to other EU countries. As the UK leaves the EU, the Government will be re-evaluating this legislation.
In addition to all of this, Ministers at DEFRA have committed to ensure that antibiotics are used responsibly and last year announced plans to reduce antibiotic use in animals significantly. Long term sector specific reduction targets are being set that will bring sustainable change across the UK agricultural industry.