Theresa May

Brexit - food and animal welfare

Brexit - food and animal welfare

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Yuck. Don't read this if you're eating - it looks like our food standards are at risk from post-Brexit trade deal negotiations, with some horrible consequences. 

At the moment the EU has strict rules on which food products can be imported. Pork in particular is highly regulated due to problems with tapeworm infection across the world. When passed on to humans this tapeworm can cause very severe health problems, and even death.

It is estimated that up to 37% of pigs in some parts of the world are infected, which is why right now the EU puts very strict conditions on imports. Big business is now eyeing up the 'opportunities' from Brexit, which mostly means reducing their costs by any way possible - even if it puts consumers at risk. 

Tell the UK Government they must keep all EU food standards, whatever happens with Brexit.

This is a nasty symptom of a wider problem. In the upcoming trade deals negotiated with countries outside the EU there is a real risk the UK Government will allow lower food standards to boost corporate profits. 

And it's just a race to the bottom. GMOs, hormone-fed beef and Ractopamine - a muscle builder given to pigs and turkeys - are all commonly used in countries like the USA, with which the UK Government wants a post-Brexit trade deal.

Currently, the EU bans them through its 'precautionary principle', which means if there's even the possibility of a risk to human health then they can't come in. The UK has no such protections on its own.

Tell Theresa May to retain all EU food standards in the event of Brexit.

It gets worse. Lower food standards mean lower animal welfare protections. Battery farmed chickens, sow stalls and veal crates are all prohibited by EU rules. These farm practises are nothing short of animal cruelty, but again they are used commonly outside the EU.

Although the agreement on how the UK leaves the EU hasn't been close to formalised, some of our Ministers are already making moves to secure deals with other countries. We need to up the pressure now, before it's too late.

We've done it before - when Home Secretary Amber Rudd made a post-Brexit proposal to 'name and shame’ businesses that employ foreign staff by making them publish lists of ‘foreign workers’, almost 60,000 SumOfUs members pledged to stand with all workers. Meanwhile we asked business leaders to sign on to an open letter in The Telegraph stating that they would not comply with the policy -- and by Monday morning, the government had rowed back on the proposal.

The Government needs to know that we care about food safety, and that it can't be frittered away as a bargaining chip for big business.  

Tell Theresa May to retain all EU food standards in the event of Brexit.


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