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Trade Negotiations: Foie Gras and Fur Import Regulation

Volume 709: debated on Thursday 3 March 2022

9. What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the potential impact of the Government’s plans for regulation of foie gras and fur imports on trade negotiations. (905856)

The Government are committed to upholding the UK’s high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards, as outlined in our manifesto. I have regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Government will update the House in due course on any future legislation.

I thank the Secretary of State for her answer. My constituents in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock, and elsewhere, are very angry that the Government are considering dropping the proposed ban on foie gras and fur imports, when there are perfectly acceptable alternatives to both that do not involve cruelty to animals. Foie gras involves the force feeding of ducks and geese to fatten and enlarge their livers, and fur imports into the UK involve animals being kept in cages that are far too small. How can the Government continue to claim that the United Kingdom is a world leader on animal welfare?

We have agreed groundbreaking animal welfare provisions in our Australia and New Zealand trade deals, including stand-alone chapters reflecting the importance of animal welfare. As we do more trade deals in the months and years ahead, that will continue to be an incredibly important part of our focus. In relation to the specific issues that the hon. Gentleman has raised, DEFRA ran a call for evidence last year, from 31 May to 28 June, seeking public views on the fur market. A summary of responses to that call for evidence will be published soon.