After a ban on British lamb imports in the US that was placed during the BSE epidemic was lifted by US President Joe Biden, the flesh of baby sheeps reared and killed in the UK can now be eaten by Americans, after more than 20 years when they were only able to eat the flesh of lambs killed in the US or other countries other than the UK.

The US first banned imports of lamb in 1989 after the initial outbreak of mad cow disease before scrapping the restriction, but it was reimposed in 1996 after the disease resurfaced. In December 2021, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) amended the rule preventing lamb imports from the UK into the US, with the change coming into force on 3 January, but only until October 2022 the first exports actually took place, as there was some bureaucracy to overcome. 

The first shipment contained the bodies of baby sheeps cut and packed by the meat processor Dunbia from its site in Carmarthenshire, Wales. Wales is the UK nation that kills more sheeps, but numbers do not really matter. For any mother having her children stolen and killed, there is very little consolation if her case is exceptional or is part of a huge industry where all mothers like her suffer the same ordeal.  Unfortunately, the rearing and killing of sheeps for wool or meat is a big industry in many countries so the Americans who consume these products would never have found themselves unable to find them, with or without the British import ban. I am sure they did not miss them for 20 years, and they would not miss them now if the ban would be reinstated.

“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’.