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UK to US: If you eat chlorine washed chicken, go ahead, but we won't

Staff Writer |
UK government must commit to prioritising high welfare imports as the US administration calls for relaxation of standards in future trade deal.

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The RSPCA is urging the Government to turn words into action and commit to protecting animal welfare standards post Brexit after the US called for the wholesale removal of trade barriers.

As the US outlines its aims for a post-Brexit deal which could open the UK food market to products such as chlorinated chicken or hormone-treated beef, the animal welfare charity is calling on the Government to accept an amendment to the Trade Bill in the House of Lords Wednesday.

RSPCA Head of Public Affairs David Bowles said: “News of the US administration’s objectives for a trade deal with Britain after Brexit is very concerning for animal welfare. We have repeatedly said that Brexit offers the opportunity for the UK to be a world leader in animal welfare, producing a gold standard in how farm animals are treated.

“The UK currently bans products such as chlorinated chicken, hormone-treated beef or cruel farming practices such as the conventional battery egg cage or pig sow stalls. Unless we uphold these standards when we leave, we face a race to the bottom, where price, not quality, influences what ends up on our supermarket shelves.

Fears over chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-fed beef are "myths", according to the US ambassador to the UK.

In the Daily Telegraph, Woody Johnson urged the UK to embrace US farming methods after Washington published its objectives for a UK-US trade deal.

EU rules currently limit US exports of certain food products, including chicken and beef but Johnson wants that to change in the UK after Brexit.

Downing Street has repeatedly denied it will accept lower food standards.

A No 10 spokeswoman said: "We have always been very clear that we will not lower our food standards as part of a future trading agreement."

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