The development of a new, post-Brexit UK agriculture policy is a seminal moment for the future of the UK’s environment, food production and countryside, writes Sir Kevin Barron MP.
It is vital that the UK secures the inclusion of high food and animal welfare standards in all trade agreements negotiated after Brexit.
The UK must further ensure it has a comprehensive legislative agenda in place to make sure that it has equal and better animal rights across the world.
Many stakeholders have expressed concern that post-Brexit trade deals with nations outside the European Union will result in the importation of cheap food, thus undermining UK animal welfare standards.
Also, an RSPCA survey that shows more than 80 per cent of the UK public want animal welfare standards to be maintained or improved post-Brexit.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee has also warned that the UK’s international reputation for high animal welfare must not be sacrificed to allow cheap imports as it might undermine the premium British brand and might affect the UK’s ability to negotiate trade deals with other countries.
An amendment to the Agriculture Bill attempts to prevent the Government from entering into trade agreements that allow food imports that do not meet the UK’s environ-mental, animal welfare and food safety standards.
This amendment has cross-party support and a similar, though not identical clause, was put forward in the Trade Bill.
The Government has said that animal welfare standards will not be lowered in the pursuit of trade deals.
I intend to hold the it to such assurances.