Trade can have an immense and detrimental impact on animal welfare. Animal welfare needs to be placed firmly in the minds of trade negotiators within the U.K. as we move forward with FTAs.

The UK has a considerable body of legislation on the welfare of farm animals. Many of the countries the UK is seeking an FTA with do not. When negotiating trade agreements, the UK must not accept clauses that require the UK to permit the import of meat and dairy products, or eggs, that are produced to lower animal welfare standards than those of the UK. Increasing the access to the UK market without ensuring compliance with our domestic standards promotes sub-standard imports and will affect the competitiveness of British producers. It also means we will lose any leverage in trade negotiations to improve animal welfare globally.

  • The UK Government must insist on the right to refuse to import products produced to lower welfare standards than those of the UK and to enable conditional liberalisation for higher welfare animal-based products based on preferential tariffs, tariff rate quotas or non-tariff measures.
  • A Free Trade Agreement must formally recognise the links between animal welfare, climate change and antimicrobial resistance under the sustainable development chapter.
  • There is very little scrutiny of trade negotiations and this is particularly the case when it comes to setting tariffs: parliamentarians have no mechanism to challenge the tariffs that the executive lodge with the WTO or amendments by the Government to existing tariffs. Parliament must be fully involved in setting out the negotiating position, scrutinising and then ratifying FTAs and any setting or amending of tariffs must be done with transparent consultation.  The Government should also ensure that key stakeholders are enabled to respond and shape outline deals.
  • The Trade & Agricultural Commission should be established immediately and should have good animal welfare and environmental representation on it. The Commission will be tasked with producing a report on the impact on animal welfare and agriculture of each agreement the Government signs.


Live exports ban comes a step closer

The Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill had its first reading in the House of Lords today after passing its remaining stages in the House of Commons last night. It means that the bill is progressing through Parliament and that live exports are a step closer to being banned.

Conservative manifesto must contain more for animals

Vegan Conservatives support the call for Rishi Sunak to include animal-friendly policies in the next Conservative manifesto. The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation has published a raft of proposals for the PM to consider, including:-

Shark Fins Act passes into law

Vegan Conservatives welcome the passing into law of the Shark Fins Act, which further strengthens existing legislation to support shark conservation, by banning the import and export of detached shark fins in the UK.

Vegan Conservatives welcome ivory ban extension

The Vegan Conservatives have welcomed news this morning that the Government plans to extend the ivory ban to include more species: hippos, walruses, orcas, narwhals and sperm whales, all of which are listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Defra likely to ban dairy-ish names

Defra is considering guidance to ban vegan food manufacturers from using names like 'Mylk', 'Sheese' and 'B+tter' on their products.

Sustainable protein investment up 24% in Europe

New figures by the Good Food Institute show that sustainable protein companies in Europe raised €579m in 2022, an increase of nearly 24% on 2021. Of that, the UK represented €68m - almost 12% of the total.

Government drops Animals (Abroad) Bill

After being put on hold in May, following doubts about an outright ban on foie gras and using bear skin for military hats, Vegan Conservatives are disappointed to learn that the Animals (Abroad) Bill has been dropped and will not receive any more Parliamentary time.

Vegan Conservatives write to Zac Goldsmith about Iceland whale hunting

The Vegan Conservatives have written to Lord Goldsmith, about the resumption of whale hunting in Iceland this summer. The International Whaling Commission is one of Zac's responsibilities in his role as Minister of State (Minister for the Pacific and the International Environment) at DEFRA.