Many people have been writing to me regarding Compassion in World Farming’s campaign survey. Liberal Democrats believe in the highest standards of animal welfare and will continue to fight for these.
Despite an EU-wide ban on battery cages for hens coming into force in 2012, in the UK many hens are still kept in cages that do not give them enough space. We will bring in a ban on all caged hens to ensure that hens have sufficient space and a good quality of life.
We will also introduce stronger penalties for animal cruelty offences, increasing the maximum sentencing from six months to five years.
Liberal Democrats will ensure that future trade deals require high safety, environmental and animal welfare standards for food imports, including clear and unambiguous country of origin labelling for meat and dairy products. We will also introduce a National Food Strategy to promote the production and consumption of healthy, sustainable and affordable food.
We will continue our long campaign to reform agricultural subsidies – rebalancing away from direct subsidy and refocusing support towards the public goods that come from effective land management including countryside protection, flood prevention, food production, and climate change mitigation. This would ensure that smaller farms are protected and move support away from large landowners, whilst delivering a more localised agricultural policy. Liberal Democrats will continue to improve standards of animal health and welfare in agriculture by updating farm animal welfare codes and promoting the responsible stewardship of antibiotic drugs.
We will expand renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions, cutting dependence on fossil fuel imports and generating more jobs and prosperity. As part of this, we will support the Paris agreement by ensuring the UK meets its own climate commitments and plays a leadership role in international efforts to combat climate change.