Hen in a field © RSPCA

Help us change the lives of billions of farm animals

As the UK Government sets new agriculture policies for England, we're calling for urgent amendments to the Agriculture Bill that will ensure greater welfare protections for billions of farm animals.

Ensure vital changes are included in the Agriculture Bill

We're pleased that the Bill sets out a system that rewards and incentivises farmers for the work they do to improve the welfare of their animals. This is a considerable positive change for farm animal welfare in this country.

However, there are a number of ways the Bill could be strengthened and we need your support to ensure MPs get behind further changes, as the Bill enters the Report Stage and Third Reading.

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Trade deals

The Agriculture Bill fails to mention trade deals, which could undermine our standards and the commercial viability of UK farms. We're therefore calling for an amendment to make sure that this is addressed and that UK standards are expressly protected in law.

Without considering the impact of future trade deals, there is a possibility of cheaper imports of lower welfare products, such as chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-treated beef.

Food labelling with method of production

We also believe we need meaningful labelling requirements for animal products, including the introduction of mandatory method of production labelling.

Consumers should be given as much information as possible about the meat, dairy and egg products that they buy. This allows people to choose what sort of farming systems they want their money to support.

Why we need a change

64 percent of people believe animal welfare is important when choosing which meat to buy © RSPCA

Farm animals are sentient beings, they can feel pleasure and pain, and we have a responsibility to safeguard their welfare. Whilst progress has been made, farm animals continue to suffer because of unsuitable farming practices, but now we’ve been given a chance to make a big change. 

The upcoming Agriculture Bill gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the future for millions of farm animals, as the UK Government aims to set new agricultural policies in England.

What the Agricultural Bill can do for farm animal welfare

The Agricultural Bill is the future for food, farming and the environment, and will set agricultural policy in England. 

Eight out of ten people support government subsidies being used to improve animals welfare © RSPCA

What we want to see in the Agricultural Bill: 

  • Animal welfare considered as an important factor when developing future farming policies
  • Farming subsidies to incentivise and support farmers improving the welfare of their farm animals – public money not used to support farmers who are just meeting minimum requirements
  • Farming practices that support wildlife and protect their natural habitats
  • Method of production and slaughter labelling on all animal products
  • Free trade agreements that will ensure we won’t import products farmed to lower welfare standards

A critical chance to change animal welfare

The public consultation on the Agricultural Bill gave us an opportunity to help shape the future of farming and put animal welfare at the heart of new legislation. The policies set out in this Bill could be the key turning point for the welfare of farm animals and we want you to help us make this a reality. 

The Agriculture Bill is an opportunity to bring about change © RSPCA

The policies set out in the Agriculture Bill could mean we move closer to the end of: 

  • keeping hens in enriched battery cages
  • confining pregnant and nursing pigs in farrowing crates
  • farming ducks without full body access to water
  • dairy cows suffering from lameness and mastitis (an infection of the udders)
  • and ensure that all animal products are labelled so shoppers can identify farming system and method slaughter.

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