- Date posted: 1st February 2023
Crucial legislation has still not been passed, says charity.
31 January 2023 marked three years since the UK officially left the EU, but the chance to introduce new laws to improve animal welfare has so far not been seized, according to the RSPCA.
Emma Slawinski, RSPCA director of policy, said: “Brexit was billed as a real opportunity to improve animal welfare in the UK but unfortunately, three years on, key initiatives and opportunities to improve the lives of animals have been dropped or seemingly postponed indefinitely.”
Despite government proposals to improve animal welfare, there has been a lack of progress in parliament since Brexit was finalised.
A ban on importing foie gras and fur was dropped from the Animals Abroad Bill last year, after several cabinet ministers reportedly raised concerns about the proposed changes. The ministers argued that it would restrict consumer choice and have no impact on animal welfare in the UK, where such practices are already banned.
The charity also has serious concerns about the slow progress of the Kept Animals Bill.
Slawinski continued: “We’re appalled that proposed bans on the import of foie gras and fur products were shelved by the UK Government, and frustrated that progress now appears to have ground to a halt on the Kept Animals Bill, which would have consigned to history cruel practices such exporting live animals for slaughter along with banning the import of puppies, dogs with cropped ears and pregnant bitches.
"Such policies would not have been possible if we had remained a member of the EU - but after Brexit, we must now make them a reality.”
Despite a parliamentary petition signed by more than 100,000 members of the public in support of the Kept Animals Bill, the legislation is still making its way through Westminster with no timetable in place for when it will be passed.
Slawinski added: “The UK Government's policy agenda for animal welfare seems to be on the verge of complete collapse, and we are now running out of time to seize those promised Brexit benefits for animals.
“If the UK Government is to make any progress at all on its manifesto commitments, it needs quick, meaningful action on the Kept Animals Bill. Ministers cannot allow a fourth year of Brexit to pass without securing this progress for animal welfare.”