Eight out of 10 people want animal welfare laws improved or maintained after the UK leaves the EU, according to an RSPCA survey.

RSPCA says public has sent a "really strong message to the Government" that animal welfare should be central to a post-Brexit UK.
RSPCA says public has sent a “really strong message to the Government” that animal welfare should be central to a post-Brexit UK.

The poll found 81% of the public believed post-Brexit animal welfare laws in the UK should be improved or at least kept at the same level, while 5% of people disagreed.

A strong message

David Bowles, the RSPCA’s assistant director of external affairs, said: “This poll sends a really strong message to the Government as it negotiates our way out of the EU that the public cares deeply about animal welfare.

“There’s no doubt Brexit is going to be a complex issue – a lot of legislation covering farm animals in particular will need to be reviewed – but this is a golden opportunity for the Government to improve welfare and also consider rewarding farmers who rear to higher welfare standards.”

Opportunities

The charity says the Government has already stated leaving the EU offers opportunities for animal welfare to be improved in some key areas, and believes it should look at the following:

  • requiring compulsory CCTV in abattoirs
  • mandatory labelling of food according to how animals were reared
  • reforming the slaughter legislation to end non-stun slaughter and, at least, ensure meat from animals that have not been stunned only goes to those communities exempt under the law
  • changing the way subsidies are paid to farmers to encourage those improving animal welfare
  • putting in place measures to end live exports and reducing journey times for animals being transported
  • introducing legislation for other farm animals, including ducks, sheep, dairy and beef cattle
  • reforming the legislation on non-commercial imports of puppies to stop it being used to evade controls by raising the age for puppies being transported from 15 weeks
  • banning the transit of whale meat through the UK
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