26 September 2022

The UK has entered a new era. Here’s what we need from the government

Brooke Senior External Affairs Advisor Anna Marry urges the government to commit to working with civil society on issues impacting global animal health and welfare.

Liz Truss became Britain’s new Prime Minister just days before the passing of Queen Elizabeth II marked the end of an era for the country. New cabinet appointments were overshadowed or delayed, and eyes turned away from the new government during the period of mourning.  

Now is an important moment for the country to pick its direction for the years to come. It is Brooke’s hope that the Prime Minister and her Ministers take time to listen to the country’s civil society and commit to working in partnership with the sector, including with animal welfare organisations.   

There is no doubt that the world is facing unprecedented challenges, with a looming global recession and rising fuel prices that will plunge many into poverty. But in challenges also lie opportunities.  

We urge the Prime Minister to:

Champion One Health on the global arena 

The covid-19 pandemic is far from over, although fortunately vaccines have made its consequences for lives and livelihoods less dramatic. It is widely accepted that another pandemic could be just round the corner, unless we change our ways and embrace a truly cross-sectoral, One Health approach to pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. In particular, animal health has historically been neglected in policies, programmes and financing, with grave consequences, as evidenced by the recent pandemic. The UK must become a leading voice advocating for more collaboration and more investment in animal health, in mechanisms such as the International Treaty on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response or Pandemic Treaty.  

Commit to overseas development assistance  

Brooke is a long-standing member of Bond, an umbrella organisation bringing together international development NGOs in the UK. Together with our colleagues at Bond, we are calling on the Prime Minister to restore UK’s commitment to overseas development aid (ODA). Recent events, from the covid-19 pandemic to war in Ukraine to floods in Pakistan, in which people and animals suffer, have brought it home that the whole world is interconnected. Overseas assistance is not only a gesture of solidarity, it also makes good economic sense, protecting the UK’s safety and security. At Brooke, we strongly support locally based, community-driven solutions. In our work we see on a daily basis how working animals support livelihoods, help farming, enable education and contribute to community resilience in face of disasters. These invisible workers must not be forgotten in programming, policies and funding as incomes are shrinking and futures become more uncertain. 

Uphold and enhance animal welfare standards  

As the UK is adapting to the new post-Brexit reality, the country is entering into new international trade agreements. The UK has long had the ambition to champion animal welfare standards domestically and internationally, from farming and the food industry to trade and the use of animals in sports and leisure. It is imperative that these standards are maintained and further improved. At the start of the Conservative leadership campaign this summer, Brooke joined other UK animal welfare charities in signing a letter from the Better Deal for Animals coalition to all of the candidates, asking that they commit to a number of animal welfare pledges, including bringing forward the Animals Abroad Bill. Animals are sentient beings and as such deserve a life worth living, but no less importantly, animals in good welfare are more likely to be healthy and productive, contributing to income generation and preventing spillover of zoonotic disease.  

We ask the Prime Minister to remember the interconnectedness of humans, animals and the environment we live in. It is only through a holistic approach that we can tackle combined global challenges of climate change, transboundary disease and poverty.