Farmers to be paid for good animal welfare post-Brexit

Farmers to be paid for good animal welfare post-Brexit

He confirmed the new post-Brexit plans could include offering support to farmers using free-range and pasture-based grazing systems.

The comments were made during a parliamentary debate secured by Theresa Villiers MP on Tuesday evening.

Mr Eustice said: “In the past couple of years, a number of countries have been doing interesting work in the area. Denmark has developed a voluntary three-tier system for its pig sector to reward producers who show commitment to higher animal welfare standards. The Dutch have a similar system called the ‘better life system’.

“Germany is particularly interesting. It has something called the Tierwohl system, which financially rewards farmers who adopt standards of animal welfare that go above and beyond the regulatory minimum.

“As part of our policy development, we are considering all those ideas.”


RSPCA assistant director of external affairs David Bowles welcomed the news. He said: “There is no doubt that Brexit is going to be a complex issue and a lot of legislation covering farm animals in particular will need to be reviewed, but we are delighted the Government are considering the opportunities Brexit gives to improve farm welfare and also consider rewarding farmers who rear to higher welfare standards.

“We were very encouraged to hear the debate yesterday. A healthy discussion on these complex and extremely important issues is just the beginning, but it is encouraging to see the forward thinking from the Government.”

The gas mix used during the slaughter of pigs was highlighted by the Minister as another possible area for reform.

He said the latest science ‘raises some concerns’ about the gas mixture which is currently used and it would be easier to ‘improve standards during slaughter’ once outside the EU.


Putting animal welfare at the heart of trade talks was a common theme of the debate, given concerns about the extent to which this would be possible under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

“There are legal precedents and case law to support the use of ethical bans on certain practices”, Mr Eustice said.

“I do not believe anything along the lines we would propose will cause any difficulty whatever with WTO rules.”

Other issues raised by MPs during the debate were CCTV in slaughterhouses; phasing out farrowing crates for pigs; introducing production method labelling and ensuring the UK continues to share best practice on disease management with EU partners.

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