Brexit and Animal Welfare Impact Assessment: Analysis of the Opportunities Brexit Presents for Animal Protection in the UK, EU, and Internationally

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The British people voted in a 2016 referendum to leave the European Union (EU). Brexit presents threats and opportunities to animal protection in the United Kingdom (UK), the EU, and internationally. This paper discusses opportunities for animal protection in terms of five criteria. These are first, political context; second, regulatory changes; third, economic and trade factors; fourth, institutional-and capacity-related factors; and fifth, EU and international considerations. Brexit permits reform of UK agricultural policy outside of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to reward high welfare as a public good. The Agriculture Bill, however, does not suggest a radical reform agenda for animal welfare. Brexit permits a ban on live exports, but the UK Government is consulting on improving welfare, not prohibition. Brexit provides an opportunity to ban the import and sale of fur, but the UK Government has signalled it will work to improve welfare in fur farming. Brexit permits the UK to prohibit the import and sale of foie gras, but the Government has stated a ban may be challenged at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Brexit allows more stringent Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) requirements to reduce puppy smuggling. Lucy’s Law and stricter enforcement will also mitigate the problem. New sentience legislation provides the opportunity for a fully independent and properly constituted UK Animal Welfare Advisory body conducting animal welfare impact assessments and ethical appraisal. The Government has proposed sentience legislation but there is a major risk it will not be in place before the UK leaves the EU. The Government has expanded the remit of the Farm Animal Welfare Committee, which is not fully independent and is dominated by veterinary members and agricultural interests. Brexit provides some opportunities for animal protection with radical reform of agricultural policy, prohibition of live exports, and banning the import and sale of fur and foie gras. Pre-Brexit, the Government has not demonstrated the political will and commitment to realise these opportunities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number877
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages27
JournalAnimals
Volume9
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Agriculture Bill
  • Animal welfare impact assessment
  • Brexit
  • Common Agricultural Policy
  • Conservative Party
  • Fur farming
  • Live animal exports
  • Puppy smuggling
  • Sentience policy
  • World Trade Organisation

Cite this

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abstract = "The British people voted in a 2016 referendum to leave the European Union (EU). Brexit presents threats and opportunities to animal protection in the United Kingdom (UK), the EU, and internationally. This paper discusses opportunities for animal protection in terms of five criteria. These are first, political context; second, regulatory changes; third, economic and trade factors; fourth, institutional-and capacity-related factors; and fifth, EU and international considerations. Brexit permits reform of UK agricultural policy outside of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to reward high welfare as a public good. The Agriculture Bill, however, does not suggest a radical reform agenda for animal welfare. Brexit permits a ban on live exports, but the UK Government is consulting on improving welfare, not prohibition. Brexit provides an opportunity to ban the import and sale of fur, but the UK Government has signalled it will work to improve welfare in fur farming. Brexit permits the UK to prohibit the import and sale of foie gras, but the Government has stated a ban may be challenged at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Brexit allows more stringent Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) requirements to reduce puppy smuggling. Lucy’s Law and stricter enforcement will also mitigate the problem. New sentience legislation provides the opportunity for a fully independent and properly constituted UK Animal Welfare Advisory body conducting animal welfare impact assessments and ethical appraisal. The Government has proposed sentience legislation but there is a major risk it will not be in place before the UK leaves the EU. The Government has expanded the remit of the Farm Animal Welfare Committee, which is not fully independent and is dominated by veterinary members and agricultural interests. Brexit provides some opportunities for animal protection with radical reform of agricultural policy, prohibition of live exports, and banning the import and sale of fur and foie gras. Pre-Brexit, the Government has not demonstrated the political will and commitment to realise these opportunities.",
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Brexit and Animal Welfare Impact Assessment: Analysis of the Opportunities Brexit Presents for Animal Protection in the UK, EU, and Internationally. / McCulloch, Steven.

In: Animals, Vol. 9, No. 11, 877, 28.10.2019, p. 1.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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