Two thirds of people want a post-Brexit ban on the import of animal products that are illegal to produce in the UK.

This is one of the findings from a YouGov survey commissioned by RSPCA.

Traditional foie gras is made from the livers of ducks or geese that have been force-fed and UK laws currently prohibit it being produced in the UK.

The survey shows that the British public are concerned that products like foie gras and eggs from hens kept in barren battery cages, which were banned in the UK in 2012, still make their way into supermarkets, restaurants and delicatessens.

Other products like chlorinated chicken and hormone-boosted beef are currently banned from being produced and imported by the EU but there are fears Brexit could open the door to them too.

The poll, carried out by YouGov, showed 67% of the public want these sorts of products banned from being brought into the country.

This is heartening to the UK's food producers at a time when their produce is at risk of being undercut by lower-welfare imports.

David Bowles, RSPCA's Head of Public Affairs said: “If the method of making a product is so unacceptable that producing it here is banned, then surely importing that product from another country should be illegal too.

“Ensuring animal products that are imported to the UK at least meet our minimum welfare standards must be a priority not just for animal welfare reasons but also to protect the integrity of UK food and the commercial viability of UK farming.

“Brexit offers a great opportunity for the UK to strengthen its animal welfare standards. The UK has already forged ahead by banning the production of lower-welfare products, such as eggs from hens kept in barren battery cages.

"Now is the chance to ban them being imported too.”

Although foie gras has never been produced in the UK on cruelty grounds, around 180 to 200 tons are imported from mainland Europe each year.

Sow stalls, which do not allow a pig to turn around or move, were banned in the UK in 1999 but are still used in major pig producing countries such as USA and Australia.

In some European countries veal calves can be kept in conditions which would be illegal in the UK although such veal is currently allowed to be imported.

Growth promoting hormones used to produce beef, and chicken meat washed with chlorine, are practices currently banned in the EU but some have said Brexit offers opportunities to import these products at a lower cost to the consumer.

The ‘Animal Cruelty’ survey was conducted by YouGov online on behalf of the RSPCA on 2nd and 3rd October 2018, amongst 2028 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

The question was: Currently some farming practices in the UK are illegal due to the treatment of the animals during these processes (e.g. the production of foie gras, keeping pigs in sow stalls etc.). However, it is still legal for these products to be imported to the UK.After we leave the EU, do you think that you should or should not be allowed to import products (e.g. meat, milk, eggs etc.) from countries outside of the UK if the farming practices are not legal in the UK?


It should not be allowed: 67.29%

It should be allowed: 17.81%

I don’t know: 14.90%