London, 14th December 2023
Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF) is urging MPs across all parties to attend the Second Reading of the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill on Monday 18th December.
The Bill, which had its First Reading on 4th December, will ban the export of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses for slaughter and fattening from Great Britain, stopping unnecessary stress, exhaustion and injury caused by exporting live animals. It will only apply to slaughter and fattening exports, not the export of breeding animals.
The last two Conservative Election Manifestos in 2017 and 2019 have both contained commitments to take action on live exports for fattening and slaughter. This was later confirmed by Defra’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare in 2021, and again by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during the Conservative Leadership Contest last year.
During export, overcrowding means that some cannot lie down at all, while those who do may be injured or trampled to death. They can be in transit for days, suffering extremes of temperature and often without sufficient food, water or rest. Many animals endure long journeys before they even approach their export Port.
Many animals will proceed to destinations like Bulgaria, Hungary and Spain where they can be re-exported to other countries. There is evidence calves exported to Spain for beef production have been re-exported to countries such as Lebanon and Turkey, where non-stun slaughter is the norm.
Animals may end up in countries with far poorer welfare standards than our own, enduring practices which are illegal in the UK such as sow stalls and veal crates. Calves placed into the Dutch white veal pen systems, where they are unable to perform natural behaviour, are barely able to turn around and are not given any straw bedding.
While the UK was part of the EU, we could not end live exports for fattening and slaughter. By delivering this measure before the next General Election, we can send a powerful message overseas. Ending live exports was touted as a key Brexit bonus, and it is important that we capitalise on the opportunity to set our own world leading standards in animal welfare.
Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation urges all MPs to attend and support the Second Reading on Monday 18th December so that Great Britain can end its role in the cruel live export trade for fattening and slaughter.
The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation briefing ahead of the Second Reading of the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill can be read here.
About Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF)
The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation was established in 2016 to raise awareness on the lives of billions of animals reared on intensive farms around the world and how this impact upon animal welfare, the environment and people’s health. We want to highlight the action people can take to help advance farm animal welfare.
Animal welfare is an increasing concern amongst the public, who frequently look to Government to take the lead in both maintaining and improving standards.
The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation believes it is highly important that the welfare of farm animals is placed at the forefront of the Governments plan for food and farming along with its focus on productivity, competitiveness, and technology.
Media contact: Sophia Stileman (email@example.com)