The British government is reportedly considering ditching its pledge to ban fur and foie gras imports after opposition from within the cabinet.
The new rules, which were due to be part of the animals abroad bill, were expected to be introduced soon. But, according to the BBC, the government is likely to drop the plans due to objections from several cabinet ministers.
The government said that a final decision was yet to be made, but it was “united in its commitment to upholding its world-leading standards in animal welfare”.
A spokesperson added: “Our action plan for animal welfare sets out the government’s vision to introduce a range of world-leading reforms to improve the welfare and conservation of animals at home and abroad.”
But the BBC said the bans on fur and foie gras are expected to be dropped after numerous cabinet ministers, including Brexit opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, raised their concerns.
According to the broadcaster, Rees-Mogg believes the government should not impose restrictions on customers and argued that the proposed ban would not benefit animal welfare in the UK.
It also reported that ministers including the Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, and defense secretary, Ben Wallace, had also shared their concerns about the ban.
British farmers are banned from making foie gras, created by force-feeding ducks or geese, and fur farming has been illegal in the UK since 2000.
The new draft legislation intended to improve animal welfare includes a crackdown on hunting animals for trophies and holidays that lead to animal neglect. But, following debate over how some aspects would be enforced, the bill has been delayed.
In recent weeks, ministers have confirmed that they plan to ban importing hunting trophies from under-threat species such as elephants, lions and rhinoceroses.
The environment minister, Zac Goldsmith, said last year that the government would bring in the ban on imports at “the earliest possible slot”.
But animal rights campaigners warned that removing the ban from the bill would lead to anguish.
“A very large number of people will be disappointed if they do not,” Claire Bass, executive director of the Humane Society International UK, told the BBC, adding: “People will not stand for that.”
Abigail Penny, the executive director at Animal Equality UK, called for an end to the importation of “immensely cruel” foie gras.