An eminent American professor of large animal medicine has warned the UK not to dilute its high animal welfare standards for future trade deals with the US.
Jim Reynolds, a Professor of Large Animal Medicine and Welfare at Western University of Health Sciences in California, was speaking at the Animal Welfare Foundation’s (AWF) annual Discussion Forum in London.
When asked about the feasibility of the UK setting high animal welfare standards for US farms to meet as part of any future trade negotiations, Professor Reynolds told a packed audience of vets and animal welfare scientists: “If you’re asking advice from an American on farm economics, it is: ‘don’t give up what you have’. What you have here is a high-welfare market with a high value to your products. I hope you don’t let that slip.”
He added that maintaining the UK’s current high welfare standards in any post-Brexit trade deals could help pressure the US to change its own.
Professor Reynolds said: “Our system has changed over the years from a supply management system to a commodity-based system in which the profit margins are low…so America’s looking desperately to export low-value products. That’s how we make money. Keep your high-welfare, high-value products because that’s something we can attain to. Our welfare programmes come from here (the UK) to us.”