Thank you for contacting me about animal welfare standards and the UK’s trade policy.
All animals deserve to be respected and cared for throughout their lives, so I welcome the Government’s clear commitment that future trade agreements will uphold our country’s high animal welfare standards. These standards will not be watered down in pursuit of any trade deal – if anything they will be improved.
Four public consultations were launched in 2018, providing people with the opportunity to give their views (for example, on animal welfare) in potential future Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the USA, Australia, New Zealand and on the UK’s consideration of accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. All four consultations collectively attracted over 600,000 responses – making this one of the largest consultation exercises (by volume of responses) run by the UK Government. In any future potential trade agreement that the UK seeks to negotiate, the government will undertake proportionate consultation.
To provide continuity in our country’s existing trade relationships, the Government is transitioning existing EU trade agreements, to which our country is party, into UK law. As these trade agreements will be transitioned on the closest possible terms as each original agreement, this process will not have an impact on animal welfare standards.
Outside the EU, the UK will have an independent seat at bodies such as the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and others, and will continue to promote improved animal welfare standards internationally.
A consultation will also shortly be carried out on restricting live animal journeys, requiring approval for longer journeys and bringing forward welfare conditions for these journeys when they are necessary. This consultation follows a call for evidence in 2018 on improving animal welfare in transport and controlling live animal exports.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.