Open Letter to my North West Constituents on Minimum Standards for the Protection of Farm Rabbits

Dear North West Constituent,

Thousands of people have contacted me in the run up to the vote on Minimum Standards for the Protection of Farm Rabbits. I understand the importance of this issue for many people across the North West, particularly as my daughter and I have a pet rabbit.

I want to make clear that I voted for the amendment and the report.

However, MEPs did not vote on new legislation but rather to ask the European Commission to bring forward a legislative proposal on minimal standards for farm rabbits.

Currently in the EU farm rabbits are typically caged and provided with an area of less than the size of two ordinary A4 sheets of paper per rabbit with no opportunities to exercise and express their natural behaviour. This should rightly be a cause for concern. In addition, there is a high rate of disease and mortality amongst farm rabbits owing to factors such as infectious diseases which occur with high frequency in the unsuitable conditions of the cage system.

Unless we have minimum welfare standards for farmed rabbits there will be no incentive to improve the conditions in which farmed rabbits are kept across the EU.

Labour MEPs supported the report and we voted in favour of the amendment that legislative proposals on minimum standards for the protection of farm rabbits should be drawn up.

I will still be your MEP until the UK formally leaves the EU. As long as I am your elected representative, I will endeavour to do whatever I can to help. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any problems or issues that you think I may be able to help with.

Best wishes,