Brexit is the perfect opportunity to lead the world in animal welfare standards
3 min read
Tougher sentences on animal cruelty, new laws on animal sentience and a crackdown on the keeping of primates as pets will put us at the forefront of the fight against animal cruelty, writes Andrew Rosindell MP.
Britain’s long awaited exit from the European Union has finally been secured. After three long years, we are at last reclaiming our island nation’s destiny and taking back control of our laws, borders and institutions. We can start doing things our way once again!
Animal welfare is a typical example of where regulations in Brussels have held us back for too long. As I said in my question to the Prime Minister last Wednesday, Britain is a nation of animal lovers, and Brexit presents the perfect opportunity for us to lead the world in animal welfare. We must decouple ourselves from the EU’s lesser standards on animal welfare.
It is intolerable that every year in this great country, thousands of cattle and other livestock are jammed together in tight, cramped spaces before being sent overseas for slaughter, often as far away as North Africa. Membership of the European single market has meant that British governments have been unable to end this barbaric and backwards practice of live exports.
These terrible journeys must be stopped for good. They clearly go against our values: polls show the majority of the British people would like to ban them. I was proud to hear the Prime Minister confirm recently that he is committed to a ban on live imports, which we had been powerless to implement in the face of heartless Brussels bureaucracy.
Another area where leaving the European Union enables us to take stronger action than previously possible is on the import of the spoils of trophy hunting of endangered animals. The hunting of elephants, lions, rhinos and leopards, many of which are endangered or protected species, is cruel and cowardly. Studies have shown that trophy hunting is directly responsible for a decline in the number of elephants and lions in Africa.
Following up on its recent implementation of one of the toughest ivory bans in the world, the government has launched a consultation on trophy hunting import. I hope that the Prime Minister will bring forward a ban on all hunting trophies entering or leaving the UK post-Brexit once that consultation finishes at the end of this month. We must end the sick practice of trophy imports, which has done such harm to so many endangered species.
Imports are not the only area where we can toughen up our laws on animal welfare post-Brexit. Our manifesto committed us to raising animal welfare standards as we leave, and the huge range of policies already announced on animal welfare make it clear that this is not a commitment this government takes lightly.
Tougher sentences for those convicted of animal cruelty, new laws on animal sentience and a crackdown on the keeping of primates as pets are all policies that will put us at the forefront of the fight against animal cruelty. I am proud that our government has already pledged that it will be taking action on all these things, making our animal welfare regulations stronger than they were inside the European Union.
As Britain becomes a truly global nation once again, we must not let this progress slip. Our government must continue to up our standards on animal welfare to ensure that we become the global leaders on this issue. If we get this right, it will not only be the British people that feel the benefits of Brexit, but so will our animals!
Andrew Rosindell is the Conservative Memeber of Parliament for Romford.
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