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Liberal Democrat election manifesto includes farm welfare pledges

10th Jun 2024 / By Alistair Driver

The Liberal Democrats have become the first major party to publish their general election manifesto, which includes a number of pledges to improve farm animal welfare. 

Ed Davey manifestoThese include a ban on imports of food products not produced to UK standards and a ban on laying hen cages, although there is no mention of farrowing crates. 

The 116-page manifesto, launched this morning, promises that Sir Ed Davey's party will ‘stand up for British farmers and ensure everyone can get affordable, healthy and nutritious food, produced to high welfare and environmental standards’.

Headline food and farming pledges include:

  • Introduce a holistic and comprehensive National Food Strategy to ensure food security, tackle rising food prices, end food poverty and improve health and nutrition.
  • Accelerate the rollout of the new Environmental Land Management schemes, properly funding it with an extra £1 billion.
  • Maintain high health, environmental and animal welfare standards in food production and guarantee that all future trade deals will meet them too, ensuring that Britain’s farmers and food manufacturers are not put at an unfair disadvantage.
  • Give Britain’s farmers the ability to trade with our European neighbours with minimal need for checks by negotiating comprehensive veterinary and plant health agreements.

The document goes onto outline various ways the Liberal Democrats would ‘ensure Britain continues to be a world leader in animal welfare and standards’, including passing a ‘comprehensive new Animal Welfare Bill to ensure the highest standards possible’.

There is a pledge to ensure that no animal product that would be illegal to produce in the UK can be sold here, including foie gras and food produced with antibiotic growth promoters.

The party promises to impose a ban on caged hens, although there is no mention of farrowing crate, and measures to prevent ‘unnecessarily painful practices in farming’.

They would also ‘at least match’ the EU’s stricter rules on preventative use of antibiotics, and introduce a comprehensive plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance in farm animals.

Other farming pledges include:

  • Introducing robust and clear-to-understand food labelling.
  • Strengthening the Groceries Code Adjudicator to protect consumers from unfair price rises and support producers.
  • Supporting farmers to reduce the pollution of rivers, streams and lakes.
  • Introducing a Research and Innovation Fund to support new and emerging technologies in the sector including the development of alternative proteins in which the UK can become a world leader.
  • Providing local authorities with greater powers and resources to inspect and monitor food production.
  • Renegotiating the Australia and New Zealand trade agreements in line with our objectives for health, environmental and animal welfare standards, withdrawing from them if that cannot be achieved.
  • Exploring additional funding options to ensure an intelligent transition to better farming practices.
  • Using public procurement policy to support the consumption of food produced to high standards of environmental and social sustainability, and which is nutritious, healthy and locally and seasonally sourced.

NPA manifesto

With less than four weeks to go until polling day, please use the NPA manifesto, available to download in the Members' Area, to help with key messaging with candidates in your constituency.