RSPCA brands Liz Truss’ assurances over post-Brexit food standards a ‘Trojan horse’

Liz Truss visits to the Fruit pig company, Wisbech, to make the case for Brexit. Photograph: Stefan

Liz Truss visits to the Fruit pig company, Wisbech, to make the case for Brexit. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA. - Credit: PA

The UK's largest animal welfare charity has branded Liz Truss' attempts to reassure the British public about post-Brexit food standards a 'Trojan horse'.

The RSPCA has criticised the government's failure to guarantee strict welfare and environmental practices beyond Brexit.

It has also attacked the new commission set up by international trade secretary Truss which she aims to tackle concerns over a trade deal with America.

The charity branded it a 'Trojan horse which fails to fulfil the government's manifesto promises to protect welfare standards'.

Truss previously said she was 'putting British farming first' and said that 'high food and animal welfare standards won't be compromised'.

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But the RSPCA have expressed frustration that not a single representative of the animal welfare sector has been appointed to the board.

'Our real concern is that the commission is going to be a Trojan horse for deregulating and reducing our outstanding farm welfare standards,' the charity's Chris Sherwood told the Mail.

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He welcomed the appointment of Tim Smith - a former Food Standards Agency boss to the board - but questioned how much weight their recommendations would have.

'When the commission publishes its report, parliament needs to have the opportunity for transparent debate on its recommendations and the ability to pass a binding resolution,' he explained.

'We don't want this to be something where the report gets buried or is kicked into the proverbial long grass. Instead, we want to see a cast iron, legal guarantee in the Agricultural Bill that our animal welfare standards will be protected in future free trade deals.

'We want to see the UK exporting our leading farm and animal welfare standards around the world – championing our high standards and ensuring that food coming into the UK, which is unlawful to produce here, is not allowed in.'

Sherwood said his organisation would work with the commission, but wanted to see amendments to the Agricultural Bill so amendments were enshrined in law.

'Without this clear, legal protection, the government is leaving the door open to rolling back on these promises and negotiating away these crucial protections'.

Last month Truss claimed that fears over chlorinated chicken in the UK were unfounded as it is 'already banned'.

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