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RSPCA warns of US poultry welfare in new video

Lauri Torgerson

THE RSPCA has released a video highlighting the difference between American and British farming standards – in particular focusing on pigs and poultry.

It is the latest in a campaign by the charity that calls for a legal guarantee – within the Agriculture Bill – that imports produced to lower animal welfare standards than our own will not be permitted.

The film mixes footage from layer, broiler and pig farms with an interview of Lauri Torgerson, director of research at non-profit Mercy For Animals.

She highlights how there is very little federal legislation covering farm animal welfare.

“The two we have are the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and the 28-hour transport law and both of those do not cover chickens or turkeys.”

She adds that three quarters of laying hens in the US are kept in battery cages, which were banned in the UK in 2012.

The RSPCA has warned that a trade deal with the US could result in egg products entering the UK market.

Broilers

The video goes on to highlight broiler conditions. Ms Torgerson says birds are grown in “dark, barren conditions” and that litter is re-used between flocks.

The charity is lobbying the government to maintain animal welfare standards and legislation, and to ensure trade deals do not undermine domestic production.

In particular, it is calling for:

  • Animal welfare considered as an important factor when developing future farming policies
  • Farming subsidies to incentivise and support farmers improving the welfare of their farm animals – with public money not used to support farmers who are just meeting minimum requirements
  • A clear commitment in the Bill to post-Brexit free trade agreements that ensure we won’t import products farmed to lower welfare standards
  • Farming practices that support wildlife and protect their natural habitats
  • Method of production and slaughter labelling on all animal products

The RSPCA’s petition can be found on its website.