Victory: Following Pressure from Campaign Groups, Government Backtracks on Plans to Scrap Statutory Animal Welfare Codes
For Immediate Release:
7 April 2016
Sascha Camilli +44 (0) 2078376327 ext 235; [email protected]
VICTORY: FOLLOWING PRESSURE FROM CAMPAIGN GROUPS, GOVERNMENT BACKTRACKS ON PLANS TO SCRAP STATUTORY ANIMAL WELFARE CODES
Defra Confirms It Will Not Repeal Statutory Codes for Broiler Chicken Welfare
London – Just hours after receiving a joint letter from PETA, Animal Aid, Humane Society International, Animal Equality, Viva! and Compassion in World Farming – and hearing from Kerry McCarthy, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – Defra has abandoned plans to scrap the statutory codes in place for broiler chickens in favour of industry-created guidelines.
“In light of views raised, we have given the matter further consideration and believe we can achieve our objectives by retaining the existing statutory codes”, said a Defra spokesperson.
The groups’ letter, addressed to Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pointed out that allowing the industry to self-regulate by authoring its own rule book would risk lowering current animal welfare standards because farmers would no longer be required to abide by the codes – and the action would also potentially increase risk of zoonotic diseases and further overuse of antibiotics.
“It would have been unconscionable for Defra to let the fox guard the henhouse by giving the very industry that views and treats animals as mere commodities latitude to write its own rule book about its obligations for animal care”, says PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi. “At a time when consumers are deeply concerned about declining animal welfare standards, following multiple investigations into UK farms – all of which revealed that animals suffer and die in filthy and severely crowded conditions – the government must do more to protect animals, not less.”
The updated statutory guidance that the government is now working towards must be made public before coming into force, in order for the codes to be reviewed and debated.
The groups’ letter is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.