EU law recognises animals as sentient beings, aware of their feelings and emotions. The RSPCA is concerned that animals could lose this vital legal protection, post-Brexit. In response to the Lords decision on Brexit Trade Bill/imports & animal welfare, the organisation has issued the following statement:

"While no vote has been cast on the Trade Bill we are pleased the government has indicated they are willing to make concessions to make sure the UK’s domestic animal welfare standards are protected. This is an encouraging step in the right direction for animal welfare and UK farmers’ livelihoods post-Brexit, but we’re not yet past the post and the Minister now needs to deliver these changes.

"We would urge the Government to turn it's words into action, and commit to ensuring that animal products imported into the UK meet our own high welfare standards after we leave the EU.

“The UK currently bans products such as chlorinated chicken, hormone-treated beef and cruel farming practices such as the conventional battery egg cage or pig sow stalls.

Unless we uphold these standards when we leave, we face a race to the bottom, where price, not quality, influences what ends up on our supermarket shelves.

"The RSPCA would like to see the government’s commitment to protecting the UK’s domestic animal welfare standards enshrined in the Trade Bill and all current animal welfare laws, at the very least, to be kept to the same standard, including:

All animals to still be recognised as being sentient

Free trade agreements that prohibit products being imported with lower welfare standards

Improvement in key areas of animal welfare, such as long distance live transport, food labelling, trade of endangered species and puppy imports".