THE RSPCA is urging Bradford residents to contact their MP this week ahead of a crucial vote on banning lower standard food imports such as chlorinated chicken and battery caged eggs.

The Agriculture Bill will go back before MPs on Thursday, October 1, after the House of Lords voted through an amendment to the bill to ban imports of products produced to a lower welfare standard than the UK.

This includes the prospect of chlorinated chicken, hormone treated beef, pork from pigs kept in sow stalls and eggs from hens kept in battery cages.

These welfare standards are currently illegal in the UK, and the RSPCA is concerned if MPs don't support this amendment it will allow lower welfare standard food to flood onto the UK market.

It said while the Government promised to stop lower standard imports once the UK is out of the EU transition period in their manifesto, they have "failed to enshrine this promise in law".

An RSPCA survey found 70 per cent of people in Yorkshire want lower standard food imports banned post-Brexit.

Chris Sherwood, RSPCA chief executive, said: “The Government must now honour its manifesto promise and back this amendment.

"If it doesn’t, MPs must vote with their conscience and reflect the strong feelings of the public.

"It’s a choice between protecting the UK’s globally-recognised high farm animal welfare standards or allowing in products like chlorinated chicken and hormone beef from abroad.

“We are pleased that the Lords have voted for a law to stop imports of food produced to lower farm animal welfare standards but now that the Agriculture Bill returns to the Commons, we urge MPs to seriously consider what’s at stake here. 

“Unless MPs also agree to enshrine in law what was promised in the Conservative manifesto, a no-deal would mean the UK faces a flood of imported food that is illegal in the UK.  

“With a no deal looking increasingly likely, and the Government desperate to sign trade deals, failure to act now could result in a catastrophic weakening of the hard-won protections for millions of animals in this country and could risk setting back animal welfare for many years ahead.

"It would also threaten UK farmers’ livelihoods as they would be at risk of being undercut by imports produced to much lower welfare methods than are allowed in the UK.

“We need MPs to realise how strongly the public feels about this issue and are urging people to contact their local MP to pressure them to support this law to stop lower welfare imports coming into the UK.”