At the beginning of the month, Penrith RSPCA Assured egg producer David Brass, of The Lakes Free Range Egg Company, was invited to attend an event at the Palace of Westminster. 40 MPs and Ministers of State including Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs were at the event.

It was organised by the RSPCA and designed to communicate the charity’s vision for the welfare of animals, post Brexit, to influential ministers and MPs. David Brass said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to talk about our approach to farming.  We are proud members of RSPCA Assured and the welfare of our hens are our top priority. We strive to provide the best habitats for our hens in tree planted pastures, supported by a strong bio-diversity action plan that is sustainable and environmentally friendly.”

At the event Michael Gove said:“As we leave the European Union there are opportunities for us to go further and to improve the animal welfare standards that we have. If we insist on high environmental standards and high animal welfare standards that’s not just good in ethical terms, it’s good in business terms as well. The UK should compete at the top end of the market by producing the world’s best – rather than the cheapest – food.”

Westminster Kingsway  – one of the country’s leading catering colleges – served Tortilla with Romesco Sauce and Crispy Potato Crumb at the event, using RSPCA Assured eggs from Lakes free range farms.

David Bowles, head of public affairs at the RSPCA, said: “The RSPCA recognises that the government is already making progress on farm animal welfare, but it warns of threats from cheaper imported products produced under standards illegal in the UK. To its credit the Government has just confirmed that it will introduce legislation to have mandatory CCTV in abattoirs next year – something that already exists in all RSPCA Assured abattoirs. That will be a vital step in the fight for higher welfare across the food chain. But we must beware of a race to the bottom on other issues.”