A number of constituents contacted me ahead of the recent Westminster Hall debate on caged farming, which took place on May 22nd. Unfortunately I was not able to attend the debate, so I thought I would set out my feelings below.
I am firmly committed to promoting best practice in cruelty-free animal husbandry and to ensuring better enforcement of agreed standards. Last year, the Opposition consulted on its Animal Welfare Plan, which includes a proposal to end the ‘cage age’ of outdated farming practices that cause animals distress and restrict natural behaviours.
The plan includes a proposal to end the use of cages on British farms and to introduce a phased ban on sow farrowing crates with a reasonable phase-out period, replacing them with safe, free-farrowing systems.
As you may know, the Government responded to the petition by saying it has “already banned cages where there is clear scientific evidence that they are detrimental to animal health and welfare” and this claim has been heavily disputed by CIWF. The Government further highlighted legislation that protects the welfare of livestock as well as the statutory species-specific welfare codes.
With new trade deals on the horizon and the UK potentially no longer subject to EU-wide rules on animal welfare, I agree that we must ensure we have a comprehensive legislative agenda in place to make sure that the UK has equal and better animal rights across the world.
I can assure you that my Labour colleagues and I will continue to support a vision where no animal is made to suffer unnecessary pain and degradation and where we continue to drive up welfare standards and practice.