Celebrities write to Theresa May calling for a #BetterDealForAnimals
23 high-profile British celebs including Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden, Leona Lewis and Joanna Lumley sent an open letter to Theresa May demanding a better Brexit deal for animals.
The stars signed the letter to show their support for the #BetterDealForAnimals campaign, run by a group of 36 prominent animal charities including World Animal Protection, Humane Society International UK and the RSPCA.
The group is calling for governments in the UK to recognise animal sentience in law and ensure that animal welfare policies are maintained and strengthened in the event of the UK leaving the European Union.
In the letter, the celebrities say:
“We support the #BetterDealForAnimals campaign and urge your government’s swift action to recognise animal sentience in law and ensure that UK animal welfare laws across the UK are maintained and strengthened in the event of the UK leaving the European Union.”
The full letter was co-signed by: Jilly Cooper, Mel C, Alesha Dixon, Peter Egan, Ben Fogle, Amanda Holden, Twiggy Lawson, Rula Lenska, Leona Lewis, Matt Lucas, Joanna Lumley, Evanna Lynch, Virginia Mckenna, Deborah Meaden, Thandie Newton, Lesley Nichol, Bill Oddie, Chris Packham, Simon Pegg, Sue Perkins, Will Travers, Lucy Watson and Pete Wicks.
Following public dismay about animal sentience law not being included in the Withdrawal Bill, the Government made firm commitments ‘to make sure Brexit delivers not just for the British people, but for animals too’.
These included promises to be ‘a world leader in the care and protection of animals’ and that the Government would ‘strengthen our animal welfare rules’. Despite this, under current Government legislation plans, animals would receive less legal protection post-Brexit than they do under the EU.
This is because losing EU protections would mean the Government Departments would not have the same legal requirement to take account of animal sentience and welfare in all new laws, policy and their delivery. This would expose animals to major new threats such as:
- New trade deals could permit imports of lower welfare animal products
- Building of housing, motorways and offshore renewable developments, may not have to consider the animal welfare impact to the same extent as under EU rules
- Government Departments and Agencies responsible for UK international aid could invest in overseas intensive farming systems banned in the UK
- Wildlife management practices could more easily use inhumane methods, resulting in cruel and painful animal deaths
- Disturbance of marine animals could be even harder to determine as a wildlife crime - leading, for example, to more dolphins being disturbed by thoughtless boat users
The campaign is already gaining traction in Westminster; prominent MPs of all political colours have pledged their support. World Animal Protection is holding a Parliamentary reception in Westminster this Tuesday (26 February) sponsored by Nic Dakin MP (Lab), Zac Goldsmith MP (Con), Tim Farron MP (Lib Dem), and Deidre Brock MP (SNP). Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, and Shadow Secretary of State Sue Hayman MP will be speaking at the event. Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas will also be speaking.