A poll by the RSPCA has revealed eight out of ten people want animal welfare laws improved or at least kept the same after we leave the EU.

The new figures come as Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, is due to give a speech to the Oxford Farming Conference today, January 4.

The poll found that 81 per cent of the public believe that post Brexit animal welfare laws in the UK should be improved or at least kept at the same level and only five per cent disagreed.

David Bowles said: “This poll sends a really strong message to the Government as they negotiate our way out of the EU that the public care deeply about animal welfare.

“There’s no doubt that Brexit is going to be a complex issue, a lot of legislation covering farm animals in particular will need to be reviewed, but this is a golden opportunity for the Government to improve welfare and also consider rewarding farmers who rear to higher welfare standards.”

The Government has already said that leaving the European Union gives opportunities to update and improve animal welfare in some key areas, and we believe they should be looking at the following:

? Requiring compulsory CCTV in abattoirs

? Mandatory labelling of food according to how animals were reared

? Reforming the slaughter legislation to end non stun slaughter and at least ensure that the meat from those animals that have not been stunned only goes to those communities exempt under the law

? Changing the way subsidies are paid to farmers to encourage those that improve animal welfare

? Putting in place measures to end live exports and reducing journey times for animals being transported

? Introducing legislation for other farm animals, including ducks, sheep, dairy and beef cattle

? Reforming the legislation on non commercial imports of puppies to stop it being used to evade controls by raising the age for puppies being transported from 15 weeks

? Banning the transit of whale meat through the UK

David Bowles added: “Although most of the opportunities to improve welfare focus on farm animals the Government can also use Brexit to reform the way we import puppies and prevent the thousands of sickly puppies that flood into the UK at present under EU rules.