Keith Taylor MEP, Green Party Spokesperson for Animals, has written to MPs and the Secretary of State calling for government and cross-party Parliamentary support for the #BetterDealForAnimals campaign.
The campaign, spearheaded by a coalition of animal welfare organisations and supported by 80 per cent of the British public, seeks to make sure that animals don’t lose vital legal protections when Britain leaves the European Union.
Under the European Union Treaty, animals are recognised as sentient beings, whose welfare must be protected. Post-Brexit, billions of animals in the UK will lose that legal protection.
#BetterDealForAnimals is lobbying government for a new Animal Welfare Act that would ensure continued legal safeguards for animals.
After widespread condemnation for voting against retaining the EU's animal sentience protections, Ministers U-turned and promised to put forward new legislation to enshrine the safeguard in UK law, but at the moment campaigners are concerned that the government’s plans fall short.
Keith Taylor MEP, the Green Party's Animals spokesperson and Vice Chair of the European Parliament's Animal Welfare Intergroup, has written to the Environment Secretary Michael Gove urging the government to listen to campaigners, and the British people, and deliver on his promise to recognise in UK law that animals, like humans, can think, feel and experience emotions.
Read Keith full letter to Michael Gove below
Mr Taylor, who has commissioned a report detailing all of the EU animal welfare safeguards that are put at risk by Brexit, has also called on Michael Gove to ensure EU welfare laws are not weakened post-Brexit.
Read the full Animals and Brexit report below
The senior Green politician is also calling for the government to resist attempts to sideline the welfare of animals as part of a 'desperate bid' to sign up to damaging trade deals with countries with lower animal welfare standards, like the US.
Mr Taylor has also sent a copy of his report to every MP along with a letter urging them to support the #BetterDealForAnimals campaign.
Read Keith's letter to MPs in full below
Commenting on the campaign to protect EU animal welfare standards post-Brexit, Mr Taylor said:
"For the last 45 years, we have been influential members of a collaborative body that has worked to secure important animal welfare safeguards at home and across Europe. Leaving the EU, consequently, will be one of the most defining political events for the protection of animals in the UK. And while a huge number of the laws protecting animals are derived from our membership my report makes clear that the European Union's influence on animal welfare in the UK is more than just directly legislative."
"From the freedom of movement for EU vets to access to EU-wide research networks developing alternatives to animal testing, so many UK animal welfare advances are inexorably linked with our membership of the EU. Advances seriously compromised by ant Brexit and destroyed by the 'no deal' disaster a Government paralysed by division is driving us towards."
"While the Government has claimed its EU (Withdrawal) Bill will roll over almost half a century’s worth of hard-won animal welfare safeguards, my report shows that the assertion, both technically and practically, fails to stand up to scrutiny. Scrutiny, incidentally, is something the Bill denies Parliament when it comes to amending and scrapping EU laws post-Brexit."
"The threats to animals posed by Brexit are tangible and plentiful. Farmed animals are being readied for sacrifice on the altar of free trade. Britain is set to take a step backwards on the road to cruelty-free research testing methods, with animals at risk of being the victims of doubly unnecessary and inhumane studies."
"Meanwhile, pet health and wellbeing is threatened by both a 'hostile environment' for migrants which is already driving away talented EU vets and the needless decision to exit the European Medicines Agency. And, finally, the loss of vital EU polluter pays and precautionary principles leave our wildlife vulnerable to a reckless countryside development drive."
Mr Taylor concluded:
"For these reasons and so many more, I am wholeheartedly supporting the #BetterDealForAnimals campaign and asking MPs and the Government to do the same."