By Greg Dawson
A recent Twitter trend has dog owners highlighting how Brexit could affect their pet’s needs.
The Brexit deadline grows closer bringing more worries over the effects the UK leaving the European Union will have on the public.
In September papers were released showing the government’s contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit, named Operation Yellowhammer, showing what it calls the “worst-case scenario”:
- Certain types of fresh food supply will decrease
- Prices may increase “which could impact vulnerable groups”
- Supply chains for medicines and medical products are “particularly vulnerable” to disruption at the Channel ports
- While some products can be stockpiled, others cannot because they have a short shelf life
But now after digesting these predictions over the last few months, many are taking to Twitter using #DogsagainstBrexit and posting pictures of their dogs ‘protesting Brexit’, worried about their imported pet food becoming unavailable, too costly or poorly produced.
— James Melville (@JamesMelville) October 14, 2019
Twitter posts like this are cute to look at, but also bring attention to a larger issue of importation tariffs and disruption caused not just to pets, but their owners too if a no-deal Brexit happens.
Many of the public are worried not just about feeding their furry friends but also themselves after a no-deal Brexit as food prices are predicted to rise. Those with pets may have to worry about paying more not just for themselves but their pets too.
After leaving the EU, the UK pays tariffs on its food and produce traded from EU countries. Currently, we don’t pay this but after leaving, beef could be taxed at 40%, the tariff the EU on imported meat from outside the EU.
This translates to meat rising by 5.8% in price, which could mean more shoppers buying British beef. We import large amounts of our vegetables from the EU meaning there are fewer options for cheaper veg in some cases, the UK importing 90% of its lettuce, 80% of its tomatoes and 70% of its soft fruit.
But when it comes to pet food and Brexit earlier this year head of the Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association, Michael Bellingham said this:
“If you said that any pet food product could come in regardless of its safety and quality then we would not be able to compete, because the cost of us using the agricultural products in the UK is significantly higher.
“That is because of our standards and animal welfare, which we require and are asked for by our consumers.
“We take 80% of our raw materials from the UK’s farming sector and they are very reliant on us doing that. So, it would be damaging to agriculture and ourselves.
“My concern is that there is this big debate within Government and the Conservative Party about future trading and debates about having chlorinated chicken. We can’t use those materials and we don’t want to.”
There are many UK citizens worried about their specialised medication that cannot be stockpiled due to their short shelf life as mentioned earlier. This means a possible shortage of life-saving drugs that both humans and animals may have to go without.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has said the government has plans in place:
“To ensure that there will be enough space available for extra stocks of medicines and medical products, the Government has secured extra warehouse space including refrigerated and controlled drug storage that companies can use to store products.
“The Government has also put in place extra shipping for suppliers to use on a variety of routes to ease pressure on the short straits crossings to Dover and Folkestone.
“The Government has agreed that medicines and medical products will be prioritised on these alternative routes.”