Hi all; I have now completed and sent my letter today 8/6/22 (by e mail) to my Member of Parliament (England); you can read it below.
I have also sent him several pictures of sheep in Australia which have undergone ‘mulesing’ without any form of anaesthetic.
I hope the letter explains my position of the issue of a UK – Australia FTA; and I now await response, which I will publish upon receipt.
Dear Mr. Holloway Member of Parliament for Gravesham, Kent.
You and I have met in the past, and you have also had letters from me relating to an issue that is very close to me – that of stopping live animal exports / transportation. In lieu of the vote relating to Boris Johnson on 6/6/22; I now feel then need to write once again.
I have had the pleasure of knowing, working, and campaigning with Mr Philip Lymbery, Global CEO of Compassion In World Farming International, for over 30 years. I recently met up with Phil at Ramsgate, when we joined the anti live export campaigners at a public meeting opposing the trade through the harbour.
There are two issues that I wish to bring to your attention; for me, important issues that will have a major influence on how I vote in future – and they are:
Post Brexit Government promises to end live animal transport from the UK.
In June 2021, the UK government put forward legislation to ban the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening. There was a Defra consultation on the issue; for which I personally submitted responses. This consultation set the backdrop for the proposed legislation to ban animal exports.
The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill reached the House of Commons last autumn (2021), following massive public support and receiving cross party support from a number of MP’s. BUT, despite intense lobbying since, the Bill has not been seen in Parliament since last November; and consequently it ran out of time to be passed in the 2021/22 Parliamentary session.
The dithering actions of the Conservative government and possibly opposition parties, means that today, 8/6/22, it is still legally possible for the export of live farmed animals to be undertaken from anywhere in the UK. Exporter individuals such as Mr Onderwater, the Dutch exporter and haulier who has used Ramsgate so often in the past are effectively still legally able to use Kent ports for this sordid trade if they so wish.
Thus, I consider that the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill needs to be given priority in the new Parliamentary session in order that UK live animal exports can be confined to the history books which is the only place they now deserve. I call on Mr Johnson, Mr Eustace and many other MP’s to give this issue the priority it deserves and get the legislation passed. There are other issues which parliament should be acting on despite heating costs and the price of food; so please look at these other important issues and get the legislation through parliament.
Campaigners against the trade from all over the planet will be taking part and demanding their governments do not just ‘talk the talk’, but actually pass legislation to stop this abhorrent business for once and all. Recent actions on awareness days have seen NGOs and campaigners in over 40 countries – from Brazil, to Australia, to South Korea – global actions have included solidarity marches through Kathmandu, a petition launch in New Zealand and a giant projection on the white cliffs of Dover here in England.
I request the action of Mr Boris Johnson MP; Prime Minister, to live up to his promise of ‘the best is yet to come’; and to thus get the Bill relating to live animal exports passed to prevent future sufferings from here in the UK; hopefully setting a standard to which other nations will adhere.
The UK Government has now signed a trade agreement with Australia – which one can only consider as bad news for British farmers and British animals.
We all saw how Liz Truss MP thought it, the agreement, was the best thing since sliced bread.
But, in its 2019 Election Manifesto, the Conservative party asserted us voters that:
“In ALL of our trade negotiations, we will NOT compromise on OUR high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards”.
So, possibly you can write and tell me where you Conservatives subsequently went wrong; keeping in mind the following issue on the deal with Australia. Do I need to state:
Australia still allows pigs to be kept in cages during early pregnancy, whilst sow stalls have been illegal in the UK since 1999.
Confining hens in barren cages is still legal; and common in Australia, when the UK banned such systems in 2012.
The use of antibiotics on farm animals is rife in Australia. Australian farmers are known to use up to 16 times as many antibiotics on farms as we use here in the UK.
In Australia, sheep are mutilated every year through ‘mulesing’; a process undertaken on sheep stations, and without anaesthetic for the animals involved, where large chunks of its skin at their rear end, under the tail, are cut away. Please refer to attached pictures and see how abusive this is and the suffering endured by every animal involved – “we will not compromise on animal welfare standards” ! – it looks as if you have failed by not getting Australia to act on this as part of the trade negotiations just as one example.
Around 40% of Australian beef comes from cattle fattened on cruel, intensive feedlots; unlike those systems used in the UK.
Yet the new UK-Australia FTA fails to prohibit imports that don’t meet UK standards. Liz Truss can smile and consider herself good at trade deals; but when it comes to those between the UK and Australia, I personally think otherwise.
Even before tax parries are removed, Australian products like beef and lamb will have huge tariff-free quotas. The latest UN Food and Agriculture Organisation data shows UK imports of Australian beef are currently around 1,600 tonnes a year. In the first year after the FTA is implemented, the tariff free quota on beef alone will be almost 22 times higher than this.
If this deal is ratified by the UK Parliament, higher welfare farming methods used in the UK, when compared to Australia, could immediately be undermined by cheap, factory farmed imports. Remember Conservative promises – “we will not compromise on animal welfare standards”. Cheap factory farmed imports from Australia will encourage low welfare standards and practices to continue over there. These actions by Australian producers will thus put additional pressure on British producers to cut their standards as a result; which begs the question, where will the UK be in relation to very high standards that it always preaches.
The UK – Australia trade deal is a betrayal of us all; and of our high welfare British farmers who have improved standards throughout these islands. Of course, it will be the farm animals that will suffer most as a result of this Conservative policy in which we were all informed by government, “In ALL of our trade negotiations, we will NOT compromise on OUR high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards”.
As a voter and animal welfare campaigner, I feel the need to inform you that I consider you have already failed in standards with your actions for a FTA with Australia.