British animal welfare organisation, the Political Animal Lobby (PAL), has warned that the chaos surrounding Brexit is very bad indeed for animals.
“All sorts of animals are likely to suffer,” said PAL’s Andrea Matthee. “Pets who travel to Europe with their families are early victims. Current pet passports will not be accepted post-Brexit; the British government has warned that pet owners should start planning four months before travelling. This means that for anyone planning a trip with their pets at Christmas time, it’s already too late.
The government has warned that before travelling, pets must undergo mandatory blood tests that cost £90.00 per pet, and time-consuming paperwork must be completed. “This means holidays will become more difficult to arrange and finance,” said Matthee. “Many people will not be able to comply with the new rules. Pets will suffer forced separation from their families and the harsh truth is that pets are more likely to be abandoned”
Matthee said the scale of the problem is huge. “A million pets have travelled with their owners from the UK to Europe on Eurostar alone since 2013.”
She also said the restrictions will have a ripple effect throughout Europe because many southern European countries depend on British animal lovers to adopt dogs from overcrowded shelters in Greece and Italy. “Adopting dogs from Europe will become harder causing hardship for the animals.”
“Because 80 percent of current animal welfare legislation comes from EU law. If the UK abruptly leaves Europe, as planned by the Conservative government, a raft of new legislation will be required for countless issues. We are deeply concerned that animal welfare concerns might be placed on hold while other issues take priority,” said Matthee.
“We also have massive concerns about the welfare of farm animals. Britain will have to urgently negotiate new trade agreements, which will almost certainly be made with countries with lower animal welfare standards. Britons could be buying beef from the USA where cattle are given growth hormones, and pork which is produced from pigs raised in sow stalls, where the sow is unable to even turn around. Then, there is the problem of chickens as many countries still allow battery cages that are inherently cruel to the fowls.
“Abusing animals is cheaper than raising them in reasonable conditions and will be cheaper on the supermarket shelves. Economists predict financial hard times for the UK after Brexit, and people will naturally lean towards cheaper products. The consequences are obvious: poorer animal welfare and poorer UK farmers.”