Representation and Education

BCVA voices disappointment in vote against safeguarding welfare standards

BCVA has voiced deep disappointment in the Commons’ failure to vote through an Amendment in the Agriculture Bill that would impose a requirement for agricultural and food imports to the UK to meet domestic standards.

On Monday evening MPs voted 322 votes to 279 against the important clause previously added by the House of Lords. BCVA, along with other major veterinary and farming organisations, had called on the Lords to use their powers to include essential amendments and urged the government to enshrine these vital welfare and food standards in law.

In responding to the vote, BCVA President Nikki Hopkins said “As a farm vet I am deeply disappointed and concerned to see that the government chose to reject the Lord’s amendments that would have required imports to match UK domestic standards. Despite various vague assurances, without legislative guarantees future trade deals could accommodate cheap, poor welfare imports.

“By choosing to not enshrine these important principles in primary legislation means that crucial safeguards are not guaranteed. This undermines and makes a mockery of the important work Britain has done to improve animal welfare. It will damage British farming and disincentivise continued progression in our sustainability and welfare ambitions. Consumers, vets, farmers and many distributors want these guarantees to ensure our food security.  It was a manifesto pledge by this government, so it would have been right to back that pledge by writing it into law. We now rely on the Trade and Agriculture Commission to have appropriate powers so it can apply crucial safeguards in our future trade deals.”

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