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RSPCA warns of collapse of farming standards in no-deal Brexit
Animal welfare standards in the UK are currently far higher than many non-EU countries.

Charity responds to NFU comments regarding deregulation

The RSPCA has warned against the deregulation of farm animal welfare standards in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The warning comes after the president of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said that to compete with cheap, low-quality animal products which could pour into Britain in a no-deal Brexit, the Government’s only option will be to deregulate the industry.


UK animal welfare standards are currently far higher than many non-EU countries with which it is seeking trade deals. The USA, for example, still administers growth hormones to its cows and washes chicken in chlorine. 


Until recently, the Government has committed to maintaining or raising the UK’s animal welfare standards once the UK leaves the European Union. But the RSPCA fears that, in a no-deal scenario, the UK may seek to import food from other countries like the USA, where animal welfare standards are not in line with the UK.


It says that in the increasingly likely scenario of a no-deal Brexit, the UK would be under pressure to accept farm products produced which are lower or even illegal for British producers. The only way to compete with the influx of cheaper chicken, the NFU president has said, is to deregulate the industry.


“Chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef on our supermarket shelves is now much closer to being a terrifying reality,” said RSPCA head of public affairs David Bowles.


“We have always said that a no-deal Brexit could result in a race to the bottom in terms of animal welfare standards and, worryingly, the Government’s promise to maintain those standards sounds increasingly hollow. If the farming industry does deregulate because of a no-deal Brexit, food products which are currently banned from being sold anywhere in the EU due to the unacceptable method of their production will be allowed to be sold in the UK.”


He continued: “Eight out of 10 people believe that animal welfare laws in the UK should be improved or at least kept at the same level after the UK leaves the EU. If the Government is serious about ensuring the long-term survival of the UK’s farming industry, the UK should be building on its reputation for gold standard farm animal welfare. 


“Scrapping farm animal welfare regulations and lowering welfare standards cannot and must not be the answer.”

The RSPCA is calling on the Government to plan for long-term sustainability. This means maintaining and strengthening regulation, ensuring the viability of high welfare schemes and building consumer demand by extending the method of product labelling.


The animal welfare charity would also like to see the commitment to protecting the UK’s domestic animal welfare standards enshrined in law under the Agriculture and Trade Bills and all current animal welfare laws, at the very least, to be kept to the same standard.

 

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Rare chimp birth announced at Edinburgh Zoo

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) welcomed the birth of a critically endangered western chimpanzee on Monday 3 February at Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

The baby girl will be named in the coming days through a public vote, and staff will carry out a paternity test during its first health check to determine the father.

Mother Heleen's first infant, Velu, was born in 2014, making this new baby only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Budongo Trail team leader Donald Gow said: "While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee."

Image (c) RZSS/Donald Gow. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.