Government response

Myths busted: Welfare protection for animals

Cutting bureaucracy doesn't equate to poorer welfare for animals.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Myth - The Independent reported today that the Government has rolled back welfare protection for animals.

The Truth - Cutting bureaucracy doesn’t equate to poorer welfare for animals - we listen to expert groups and always base decisions on robust scientific evidence. We work regularly with these groups on welfare issues including circuses, gamebirds, tackling bovine TB and making sure robust evidence is used in animal welfare prosecutions.

The Government is committed to banning beak trimming in the long term. The Farm Animal Welfare Council recommended last year that a ban should not be in place until there are suitable alternatives to stop feather pecking and cannibalism. If we ban beak trimming immediately, it would mean worse welfare for laying hens. That’s why we’ve listened to the advice of the Farm Animal Welfare Council to allow infra-red technology to be used in beak trimming as we work towards a total ban in the future.

The Animal Welfare Act makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal, and contains a duty of care so that people responsible for any animal must take such steps as are reasonable to ensure its welfare. This hasn’t changed.

Further information

Published 13 November 2010