Will the UK start importing eggs with lower animal welfare standards?
Last year CIWF and the BEIC agreed on a minimum standard for barn eggs for the UK egg producers. The standard aims not only to deliver better welfare for laying hens in Britain, but also to create a level playing field for the UK producers converting to cage-free production before the 2025 deadline.
CIWF and the RSPCA wrote a letter to the Secretary of State at the Dept for International Trade, the Rt. Hon. Liz Truss and to DEFRA, addressed to Rt. Hon. George Eustice ahead of the announcement of the UK Global Tariff Policy.
The response they got was reassuring, stating that environmental, food safety and animal welfare standards will remain the same after the UK leaves the EU.
However, the organizations warned that if the same principle does not apply to imported eggs, citizens may end up eating eggs coming from battery cages. This is due to a clear risk that, without sufficient tariffs, eggs and egg products can be imported to the UK from third countries which do not even meet basic hen welfare requirements.
In this scenario costs associated with welfare standards are avoided and these products can undercut domestic British egg production.