A Labour Government would create the new post of ‘Animal Welfare Commissioner’ to protect UK standards in trade deals after Brexit.
The Commissioner would be independent of Government and would also have responsibility for ensuring animal welfare standards are upheld in domestic legislation.
Any appointee would be charged with gathering the latest scientific evidence on animal welfare and ensuring it is understood across Whitehall.
The policy was set out in Labour’s new animal welfare manifesto, which was put together after consultation with over 6,000 respondents.
It received the most positive feedback of all the party’s proposals from those who took part.
Labour’s Shadow Defra Secretary Sue Hayman said: “Never has it been more pressing to drive forward a comprehensive and ambitious agenda on animal welfare.
“At the time of writing this plan, we have a Tory Government recklessly hurtling the nation towards a disastrous no-deal Brexit, new trade deals on the horizon which raise serious questions over animal welfare and food safety standards, flip-flopping on the issue of fox hunting and the largest destruction of a protected species in living memory with the inhumane and ineffective badger cull.
“Labour will put animal welfare policy on a serious and credible footing, driven by science and best practice, rather than vague sentimentality or ‘campaign-of-the-month’.”
Other proposals in the party’s manifesto include stopping the badger cull; banning live exports, with an exemption for breeding animals and those moving across the Irish border; phasing out the use of sow farrowing crates; ending the use of all cages on farms by 2025 and carrying out research into the impact of ‘highly intensive’ livestock farming on animal welfare.
The party also pledged to carry out a review of training and standards in slaughterhouses and to introduce a whistleblowing procedure through the Food Standards Agency to allow employees to report bad behaviour in abattoirs.