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The Next UK Government Should Prioritise Farm Animal Welfare

As an animal lover, I believe all animals deserve to be treated with kindness and respect - and that the way many farm animals are currently treated isn’t acceptable.

Despite growing public concerns and the work of higher welfare schemes like RSPCA Assured and its members, significant changes are still needed to ensure every farm animal has a good life.

I’m grateful that my job as RSPCA campaigns manager gives me the opportunity to help drive positive change.

In the run-up to the general election, I’ve been working with the RSPCA’s supporters to encourage whichever party or parties form the next UK Government to make a meaningful difference for farmed animals.

At the time of writing, more than 15,000 people have supported our Vote for Farm Animals campaign in just three weeks, supporting the RSPCA’s call for the next Government to:

  • Implement support for higher welfare systems
  • Strengthen legislation
  • Review what the future of farming looks like
  • Implement clear and easy-to-understand labelling on all animal products.

The RSPCA is also urging the next UK Government to pledge to ban cages for millions of hens and pigs within their first 100 days in office.

You might be shocked to hear that about 30% of the UK’s hens and 60% of adult female pigs (sows) are still kept in cages that severely restrict their movement and don’t meet their welfare needs.

Of course, whenever you buy eggs or pork with the RSPCA Assured logo on the packaging, you can be sure they come from hens and pigs that weren’t kept in cages or farrowing crates.

But 10 million hens still spend their entire lives in cages with roughly the size of an A4 sheet of paper allocated to each bird.

And 200,000 sows are put in farrowing crates just before giving birth, and for around four weeks after their piglets are born. These metal cages are so small that sows can’t even turn around.

Keeping laying hens and pigs in cages is an outdated and cruel practice which restricts their movement - and doesn’t allow these sentient animals to express their natural behaviours.

A survey commissioned by the RSPCA and carried out by the Social Market Foundation found that 96% of people are against pigs being kept in farrowing crates and 94% are against hens being kept in cages.

It’s clear that farmed animal welfare is a priority for the public and the RSPCA’s supporters, so I think it’s vital our elected government representatives recognise this and take positive action.

You can encourage your prospective MP to prioritise a better future for farmed animals and if you’re reading this on Thursday 4 July, don’t forget to vote!

About the author

Emily Harris

Emily Harris is a Campaigns Manager at the RSPCA

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