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Agriculture bill should restrict lower animal welfare imports, says RSPCA
Supporting UK farmers to reach higher welfare standards is welcome but not enough, says the RSPCA.

More support needed for UK farmers 

The RSPCA is urging the UK Government to include restrictions on imports of farm animal products produced to lower welfare standards in the new Agriculture Bill.

Providing evidence at the agriculture bill committee on Tuesday, the charity argued against the prospect of trade deals allowing food imports which would be illegal to produce in the UK.

Assistant director of public affairs at the RSPCA David Bowles said: “While the RSPCA is delighted the Government will be supporting farmers to reach higher welfare standards, it’s essential that restrictions on lower welfare imports are written into the bills at the same time."

Mr Bowles warned that, without these restrictions, cheaper food produced to lower welfare standards than are allowed in the UK would be let in and sold on shelves, threatening farmers’ livelihoods.

He explained: “For example, 55 per cent of the pork and bacon we eat is imported. The USA still uses sow stalls (illegal in the UK), so if we import pig products from there, we’ll be opening up the door to cheaper imports which are produced to far lower welfare standards. That’s not what the consumer wants.”

The charity expressed its support for the new farm support system. It hopes that financial assistance will help farmers to deliver higher welfare standards.

Mr Bowles continued: “This is a very exciting time for farmers. Not only are there particular opportunities to establish base welfare standards in markets for sheep, chicken, beef and dairy, but also in other areas.  For example zero per cent of ducks have access to full body water, it’s a tragedy for ducks in the UK.

“As we find ourselves at a crossroads of animal welfare, it is so important we get this right to safeguard our farmers and to ensure the public can continue to access food produced to high welfare standards.”

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Celebrity chefs urge public to get baking to support Cats Protection fundraiser

News Story 1
 In support of Cats Protection's Pawsome Afternoon Tea fundraiser, Masterchef winner Tim Anderson and Great British Bake Off star Kim-Joy have shared biscuit recipes to help keen bakers raise money for needy cats across April.

The celebrity chefs are both cat owners and have said that they hope this fundraiser will help to raise awareness of cats in need and the importance of adopting a cat, rather than buying one.

This is the fourth year Cats Protection has run its Pawsome Afternoon Tea campaign, which encourages people to hold tea parties, bake sales and fundraising events to help raise money for the charity.

To view the recipes and other fundraising resources please visit the Cats Protection website. 

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News Shorts
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.