EU FARM payments should be tied to better animal welfare standards – according to Conservative MEP for the east of England, John Flack.

He spoke up in support of a report by fellow European Conservatives and Reformists MEP, Jorn Dohrmann of Denmark, which identifies huge differences between different EU countries in record-keeping on welfare standards.

The report, which was being submitted to the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee in Brussels this week, calls for stronger links between animal welfare and grants paid under the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy.

Mr Flack said that linking farm subsidies to good animal welfare practice would encourage those nations that fall short to improve their own operations or money should be withheld.

"Money – and the withholding of it – is a language all farmers seem to understand. So reform of the CAP, tying payments to better welfare standards, could be a really effective lever to get some of the less humane nations to do better."

The report also says that the transport of live animals to third countries should be banned if their standards do not match the EU's as a minimum. Mr Flack, an ardent campaigner against animal cruelty commented: "Britain's own track record on the treatment of animals falls short of perfect ­– but I have to say that if the standards of all other EU countries matched ours then things would be a lot better. That is why we should not be sending live animals overseas to whatever fate awaits them there. It is one reason I want an outright ban on live animal exports,” he exclaimed.