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Six months in: What effect has Brexit had on animal welfare and animal rights?

Posted 28th Jun 2021

Six months in: What effect has Brexit had on animal welfare and animal rights?



Since Brexit began there have been campaigns to stop animal rights being affected by leaving the EU. There are various EU laws that aren't in place in the UK and it’s integral that the country takes on these laws as we leave. Our responsibility to animals is paramount and we should not only be looking to take on the EU agreements but also be improving upon them ourselves. Around 80% of animal welfare laws come from the EU.


You might be most interested about how leaving the EU will not only impact how you travel but also how you travel with your pet. It’s important to remember that there are still over a billion animals farmed, 3 million used in research and wildlife that have vulnerable habitats in the UK.


Below we’ve outlined the crucial groups that have been affected by the split from the EU and what the UK needs to uphold and improve on.


The RSPCA Campaign


The RSPCA are campaigning for all laws to be maintained after our split from the EU. This includes animals still being recognised as sentient beings and any new laws are to recognise that animals need respect and an understanding that they can and shouldn’t suffer neglect. There is also work to encourage the implementation of new farm subsidies which would help incentivise and reward farms who have higher levels of animal welfare. They also want to make sure that any new trade agreements that are signed aren’t neglecting animals, including that no imported animals or animal products have come from anywhere that has a lower welfare standard.


The groups that are being campaigned for:


Farm animals


Most of the welfare legislations from the EU concern farm animals. The UK should continue these laws and provide rewards for farms that are providing exceptional care for the health and wellbeing of their animals.




The UK is a signatory for many international wildlife agreements, but it’s crucial that we continue to maintain these standards and work on supporting more legislation to protect wildlife.



Research Animals


The EU has put many things in place to reduce the amount of animals used in research testing. It’s important that we choose to commit to no animal testing, stop facilitating the sales of products that have been tested by animals and place bans on these ingredients.




We must increase the restrictions for bringing animals into the country. This is to include reintroducing rabies testing and limiting the amount of animals any person can import to not only improve animal welfare but also disease control.


As yet we haven’t seen firm agreements to any of these campaigns and the news world has recently been dominated by the post-brexit deal with Australia. Many of these reports stress that a deal with Australia is only available if it doesn’t affect the rights of UK farmers and stops the ability of prices undercutting them in the market. However, there is currently little conversation about when or even if the UK will make the EU laws we’ve been abiding to mandatory.

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