But as far as the halal issue is concerned, Brexit might allow us to devise and implement precisely such a national labelling scheme. The key building block here is of course the operation of informed consumer choice. If the consumer actually knows what he or she is buying, we would – I believe – in very short order see in a major reduction of halal products without at the same time offending the sensibilities of religious groups.
More generally, well-judged “post-Brexit” action by the UK in the field of animal welfare and the environment may act as a spur and a stimulus to our continental, but no longer-EU, partners to up their own game.
Many years ago, the UK banned the rearing of veal calves in crates. The EU eventually followed suit. UK rules on animal experimentation were eventually followed by EU directives. We may no longer be able to throw our weight around in the EU, but there is a wider world out there – UN specialised agencies, for example – dealing with international animal welfare and environmental matters where we should be proud to take a lead.
Stanley Johnson is a former Conservative MEP, author and journalist. He was the Founder-Chairman of the European Parliament’s Intergroup Group on Animal Welfare and holder of the RSPCA’s Richard Martin Award for Outstanding Services to Animal Welfare