15 June 2021

Abstract: The UK will ban live animal exports for slaughter, as well as a host of other initiatives, under a new animal welfare plan. But what does that mean for trade deal talks between the UK and Australia?

Last month, the UK government launched its first ever action plan to improve the welfare and conservation of animals at home and overseas.

The Action Plan for Animal Welfare formally recognises animals as sentient beings, which the UK government says will put animal welfare at the heart of government policy decision making.

Meanwhile, Australia’s treatment of animals has come under fire during debate about a UK-Australia trade deal which, at the time of writing, was still to be finalised.

Commentators say the UK is getting closer to offering Australia a trade deal of up to 15 years that includes zero-tariffs and zero-quotas. This has caused a lot of anger from British farmers who have warned they face being undercut by a wave of meat imports from Australia that could flood the market under a free trade agreement. 

The British National Farmers Union, the British Veterinary Association, and RSPCA England and Wales have warned Brits that our animal welfare standards fall below those of the UK despite claims by the UK’s Minister for Trade Policy that our standards were 'some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world'.

You can read more about what the RSPCA in Australia in the UK had to say here