Our main areas of animal welfare concern:

  • Cage-free
  •  Ban Live Animal Exports for Slaughter and Fattening
  •  Introduce Method Of Production Labelling including Method of Slaughter
  •  End Pig Farrowing Crates
  • We presented our two animal welfare Blueprints to No10 with our Patron Sir Roger Gale in January 2017. These Blueprints were titled ‘ Food and Farming Charter’ and ‘ Brexit: Opportunities For Animal Welfare’

1.Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation would like to see cages banned.

There are around 700 million animals in cages in the European Union each year( likely estimates range from 600 to 800)

In the UK, each year 44% of laying hens are caged. (source- Compassion In World Farming, 2016) Barren battery cages were banned throughout Europe from January 1st 2012, but ‘enriched’ battery cages are still legally permitted. Battery cages now have to provide 600cm squared usable space per bird, less than the size of an A4 piece of paper each, and limited facilities for perching, nesting and scratching.

Poland produces 52 million laying hens and 87% are caged. In France there are 54 million laying hens and 70% hens are caged. The UK has more uncaged hens than some European countries but millions of hens are reared in cages with little room to move and deprived of their natural exercise of foraging and running.

Chicks never experience an adult role model to learn from and most male chicks are killed immediately after hatching.

2. We call for a ban on live animal exports for slaughter and fattening

As the UK will soon no longer be bound by the EU’s free trade rules, we call for the Government to
ban the live export trade for slaughter and fattening which over the years has caused immense
suffering to our animals.

Thousands of UK sheep are exported each year on long journeys to France. UK calves are also exported
– and travel as far afield as Spain, despite the fact that scientific research shows that young calves
suffer greatly during long journeys. Long-distance live animal transports can cause immense suffering.
Overcrowding will mean that some cannot lie down at all, while those who do may be injured or
trampled to death. Others endure long journeys with legs trapped and injured, or painfully stooping
as they are not given sufficient headroom. They can be in transit for days, suffering extremes of
temperature and often without sufficient food, water or rest and can be exhausted and dehydrated.
Many die as a result.

Animals are transported in both blistering heat and freezing conditions. Water may not be provided
throughout these long journeys. In particular, when animals are exported from Europe to countries
outside the EU they leave behind them all the legal protection they once received.

We believe animals should be slaughtered as close as possible to their place of birth and live transports
to be replaced by a trade in meat. The meat can be exported in chilled conditions on the hook rather
than on the hoof.

We are concerned about serious animal welfare issues related to animals being exported for slaughter
or fattening. Defra’s own ‘Call for Evidence” notes from their 2018 consultation state that ‘transport
itself can be stressful for animals, for example as a result of loading, unloading and transportation in
an unfamiliar environment’. The same Notes No19 further reports: ‘ There is evidence to show
transport can compromise animal welfare in a number of ways, though, for example, extreme
temperature ranges, lack of food and water, insufficient ability to rest, noise and vibration.’

The science clearly shows that as journey time increases welfare decreases yet EU regulations allow
animals to endure extremely long journeys which can last days. There is a need for much improved
enforcement, the maximum journey time is too long and stocking densities are too high.

There are many serious deficiencies in the current regulations. Checks by authorities are too
infrequent or not carried out to a high enough standard. Trucks transporting livestock have been found
to regularly breach EU legislation on driving hours putting the driver, animals, and other road users at
risk. Livestock trucks are not always inspected in-country for their suitability to carry specific species
and this has resulted in cases where animals suffer painful injuries. The current enforcement system
is severely limited by a lack of coordination between regulatory bodies of different countries.
Eyes on Animals has exposed violations of the regulations. Breaches that should have been identified
at point of inspection by the OV/inspector at point of loading or/and at the portal inspection.
Violations include: Animals unfit to travel, animals not prepared for the journey intended,
overcrowding, animals down, excessive temperatures and humidity levels, lack of bedding, lack of
water facilities, unauthorised trailers, trailers not fit for purpose, journey times excessively exceeding
the times approved, feeding intervals not taking place within the legal time limits and sheep shorn in
excessively cold winter conditions.

Animals drink from troughs and buckets when in fields etc. so many do not understand how to use the
water nipple systems on trucks. Stocking density and dominant animals prevent all animals accessing
any type of water system. Troughs need checking often as animals will soil in the troughs due to limited
space. There are limited places to access and replenish water on journeys.
The floor of the trucks covering becomes inadequate after a few hours of travel, causing issues of
disease and unnecessary suffering as animals do not want to lie in the waste. The more animals
onboard the more waste. Minimal amounts of floor covering are used for slaughter animals. Suitable
bedding should be provided. Animals arrive covered in their waste.

Many sheep are being loaded in the North, enduring long journeys before they even approach
Ramsgate Port and are being sent for non -stun slaughter in mainland Europe.
Calves should not be exported for fattening in veal crate systems on the continent which are banned
in the UK. Calves placed into the Dutch white veal pen systems, where they are unable to perform
natural behaviour, are kept in pens where they are barely able to turn around and are not given any
straw bedding. The Times newspaper recently reported on two-week calves from Scotland enduring
135-hour journeys.

There is also evidence that calves exported to Spain for beef production are then being re-exported
to Third counties such as Lebanon and Turkey where non-stun slaughter is the norm. Again, once UK
animals leave our shores, we have no control as to where they end up under current EU regulations.
Pigs should not be exported to systems where sow stalls exist, which are banned in the UK. The UK is
unable to safeguard the welfare during transport and slaughter of exported animals once they leave
the UK.
Animals may be re-exported from their initial destination. In the 1990s the UK exported large numbers
of sheep to the continent. Many were sent to the Netherlands. However, within a day or two of their
arrival many were re-exported to Greece, Spain and Italy.

Similar problems could arise in future where UK animals are exported to one EU Member State and
then are re-exported to another that has lower standards regarding enforcement of EU legislation on
animal welfare during transport and slaughter. Under Regulation 1/2005 a new journey may start just
48 hours after arrival at the initial destination. There is a possibility that animals exported from the UK
to an EU Member State could be re-exported to the Middle East, North Africa or Turkey. The EU
exports around three million cattle and sheep a year to these destinations.

There are economically viable alternatives to live exports. Sheep should be slaughtered in the UK with
exports being in the form of meat. Calves exported from the UK are mainly male dairy
calves. Traditionally these were thought to produce poor quality meat which is why they were
exported. However, in recent years farmers have been successful in rearing more of these calves for
beef here in the UK. No calves should be exported, nor should they be shot at birth; they should be
reared in the UK to high welfare conditions. In light of the small proportion of the UK sheep flock and
calf herd that is exported for slaughter or fattening, it is hard to believe that live exports play any real
role in achieving buoyancy for prices or that an end to exports for slaughter or fattening would have
a significant impact on farmers’ incomes.

A ban on live exports should include both exports for slaughter and fattening. There are two reasons
why the ban should extend to exports for fattening.

Calf exports-A ban on exports for slaughter only, would allow calf exports to continue as calves are
being exported for fattening; they will be fattened for several months for veal or beef.

Sheep exports CIWF has been monitoring the live export trade for over forty years. Sheep (other than those exported
for breeding) are nearly always being exported for slaughter. They will be slaughtered on or within a
day or two of arrival.

The reason for a slight delay in slaughter may be because the abattoir has a large number of sheep
awaiting slaughter or to allow the animals to regain the weight lost during transport. Sheep are
sometimes exported with production (fattening) health certificates as sometimes sheep will not be
slaughtered immediately on arrival but only after a delay of a day or two. A ban on exports for
slaughter alone would not apply to these sheep. Moreover, some exporters may be tempted to switch
to using fattening health certificates to avoid the ban on slaughter exports.

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation organised a parliamentary reception in December 2017
jointly with Conservative Environment Network, to end live exports for slaughter and fattening and
our key campaigns. The event was hosted by Sir Roger Gale MP and the Secretary of State Mr Michael
Gove delivered an excellent speech on ending the misery and suffering in live exports.
We organised a further parliamentary reception to end live exports with Stop Live Exports Petition
Team and CIWF in January 2018 hosted by Craig Mackinlay MP. The reception was well attended by
over 50 MPs.
In May 2018 Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patron Sir David Amess MP talked on ending
live exports at the Esher and Walton Conservative Women’s Organisation lunch event on animal
welfare which featured an introduction by our Founder.
We hosted a fringe event at the party conference on the 1 October with the Conservative Environment
Network, hosted by Zac Goldsmith with a strong focus to end live exports for slaughter and
fattening. Speakers included Theresa Villiers and George Eustice talked on general animal welfare
In 2019 Sir David Amess MP hosted a fringe event at the party conference with our end live exports
banners next to the lectern and our Speakers included the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Carrie
Symonds and Stanley Johnson.
We are involved in the annual International global awareness day to end live transports with our MP

Our Prime Minister Stanley Johnson said on the 10 June 2020: during Prime Ministers Questions:
“We will be able to ban the shipment of live animals which we cannot currently ban in the UK and
we will be able to go further and better”

Years ago, the UK ended veal crates and sow stalls which were once thought acceptable. Now the
time is long overdue to end the unnecessary suffering caused by live exports for slaughter and
fattening. We do not oppose a ban on genuine cross- border trade from Northern Ireland to the
Republic of Ireland.

We urge for an end to live exports as soon as the transition period is over.

3. We call for Method of Production Labelling and to include Method of Slaughter

Mandatory clear labelling allows consumers to make informed choices

Hundreds of millions of animals are being farmed for food each year in the UK, and eight out of ten UK shoppers have said that good animal welfare is an important consideration for them when shopping – but we believe food labeling is too confusing to allow consumers to make informed choices about which farming systems they want to support – or avoid supporting – when purchasing animal products.

Currently there is no legal requirement to label products with information on how animals farmed for food were reared, with the exception of whole eggs.

Until we have transparent labelling on all meat and dairy products, the following labels can give you clear information on the farming systems used. Look out for Soil Association Organic, Free Range and RSPCA Assured on a range of products; plus Outdoor Reared on pork, and Pasture Promise on dairy.

Non-stun slaughter affects millions of animals. We support the British Veterinary Association which is urging for an end to slaughter without stunning in the UK. We call on the Government for meat to be labelled with method of slaughter so consumers can make an informed choice.

EU and UK law requires all animals to be stunned before slaughter to render them insensible to pain. The law allows an exemption on the requirement to stun before slaughter for certain communities.

Meat from animals which have not been stunned comes onto the general market but does not have to be labelled. As a result, some consumers are unknowingly buying unstunned meat. Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation is calling on the Government to require such meat to be labelled “meat from unstunned animal” so consumers can make an informed choice when buying meat.

4.  End Pig Farrowing Crates

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation calls for a ban on farrowing crates.  There are 500,000 sows in the UK, 55% are caged.  In Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland, the number of  farrowing sows rises to 90%.

The crates severely restrict the sow’s movement and her strong instinct to build a nest before giving birth. Farrowing crates have been banned in Sweden, Norway and Switzerland already. The farrowing crate use is allowed and used routinely in the rest of the EU, however there are commercially available free-farrowing systems: 360 degrees; PigSafe; and, SWAP systems.

Sow stalls (where pregnant pigs are kept indoors in sow stalls, have no access to the outdoors and are deprived of natural movement) are illegal in the UK and Sweden and banned across the EU from 2013(except for the period of weaning of the previous litter until the first 4 weeks of gestation) They are being phased out in the US and in New Zealand.

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation calls for a ban on farrowing crates which severely restrict the sow’s movement and her strong instinct to build a nest before giving birth.

The Farrowing Crate is a small metal cage in which pregnant sows are imprisoned for weeks on end, usually from a week before giving birth until their piglets are weaned three to four weeks later. She will be subjected to this roughly twice a year. The metal frame of the crate is just centimetres bigger than the sow’s body and severely restricts her movements. She is completely unable to turn around, can scarcely take a step forward or backward and frequently rubs against the bars when standing up and lying down. Beside her cage is a “creep” area  – for her piglets. The flooring is hard concrete and some form of heating, either mats or more commonly heatlamps, is used as a substitute for the warmth of their mother’s body.

We can all make a difference for farm animals in how we choose our food

The UN  states that cutting back on meat is an essential part of preventing the degradation  of our environment. The UN Environment twitter platform tweeted in  April 2019:

” Mainstreaming meatless burgers benefit businesses, consumers and our planet.”

” Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat were chosen as UN Environment Champions of the Earth. Both Startups make plant based alternatives to meat and business id booming. In the United States meat focused restaurant chains are now featuring the companies products. Livestock is responsible for over 9% of global gas emissions.”

There is increasing consumer demand for plant based diets.

If you do eat meat -eat higher welfare. Higher welfare animal products cause less animal suffering. Buying them will encourage investment in higher welfare farming which is smaller scale and poses fewer risks to animals, people and the planet.

Factory-farmed meat has been shown to contain higher levels of saturated fat and lower levels of key nutrients than higher-welfare alternatives. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared processed meat to be carcinogenic to humans and concluded that red meat “probably” is too in October 2015.

Consumers are increasingly concerned that factory farming could not only have a negative impact on the environment, but also on their health.

Buying free-range is the simplest thing you can do to help the hens that lay eggs.

If you eat meat, the simplest thing you can do to help is to buy free-range chicken and poultry, free-range pork (or make sure it’s outdoor bred & reared) and grass-fed beef and lamb.

Cheap meat usually comes at a price – one paid by the farm animals and often the environment too.

Buying Dairy

Look for organic dairy products, particularly Soil Association, to guarantee dairy cows have access to pasture grazing.

Buying Fish

As wild fishing stocks collapse through over-fishing, fish farming is growing rapidly. In 1970 only around 5 per cent of the fish we ate came from farms. Today half of the fish we eat is farmed. Some scientists have predicted that by 2048, stocks of all species of sea fish will have collapsed, forcing us to rely almost exclusively on farmed fish.

If you do buy farmed fish, buy Soil Association organic for higher welfare standards. Otherwise fish may have suffered in over-crowded tanks, experienced unacceptable periods of starvation and been slaughtered inhumanely. They are capable of feeling pain, fear and psychological stress. (source: Compassion In World Farming)

Find out more about our focus on improving animal welfare