The new UK government led by Prime Minister Liz Truss will scrap proposed bans on the import of fur and foie gras. The plans were shelved earlier in 2022, but now the bans will not go ahead at all. A potential ban on the export of live animals for slaughter and the import of hunting trophies are also at risk of being dropped. The live animal export ban is likely to be ditched on the assumption that it is not needed because no live animals have been exported for slaughter since Brexit (although exports for breeding continue).

Lorraine Platt, the co-founder of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, said the UK should match up its import rules with its domestic production rules. She said, “It’s illegal to produce fur in the UK and it’s illegal to produce foie gras… we have to address the contradiction that if it’s too cruel to be produced here in the UK it’s too cruel to import it.”

The most significant event that explains these changes is that the environment minister Zac Goldsmith was sacked from his post in the farming department. Goldsmith was an outspoken animal welfare campaigner from a party not known for any progressive animal protection policies, but now that he is gone it is likely that the conservative government will revert to its default anti-animal stand. The ban on imports of hunting trophies of the most threatened species may still happen because the current proposal comes from backbencher MPs, not the Government, but without the support of the Government, the vote may ultimately fail. Despite what Liz Truss said during the campaign for leadership of the Conservative party, it is possible that this Government may resurrect its traditional attempts to repeal the Hunting Act 2004 that banned hunting with dogs, as it seems that the recent policies of the new government are very old-fashioned and reactionary. 

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.