Live animal exports for slaughter and fattening to be banned & better welfare conditions for millions of farm animals during transit

We have welcomed the Government’s response to the Consultation on Improvements to animal welfare in transport.

LONDON, Wednesday 18th August 2021

The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF) has welcomed the Government’s response to the Consultation on Improvements to animal welfare in transport which concluded on 25th February 2021.

As part of the response, the Government will action improvements to animal welfare in transport through:

  • Confirming a ban on live exports for fattening or slaughter.
  • Introducing shorter maximum journey times for live animals – between four and 24 hours depending on the species of animal.
  • Giving animals more headroom during transport; and
  • Stricter rules on the transport of animals during extreme hot or cold temperatures.

During the Consultation stage the Government reports that significant animal welfare concerns around the current journey limit and temperature regulations were made clear through the evidence received.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “We are legislating to ban the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening and are now developing other measures to improve the welfare of animals during transport.

“We have listened to the concerns raised relating to our proposed changes to transport regulations and have made changes to address these. We will continue to work with industry on the remaining details.”

Today’s announcement forms part of the Government’s Action Plan on Animal Welfare, which can be accessed here, The full Government press release can be read here.

Lorraine Platt, Co-Founder of Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, commented: “The CAWF is delighted with the news today that the UK will enforce stricter measures to protect animals in transport – an issue we have long campaigned for. Shorter transport times mean that transported animals will be less at risk of severe harm due to stress, injury, disease, and maltreatment.

“Moreover, a ban on live exports for fattening or slaughter will mean these animals are no longer be at the mercy of other countries’ welfare laws and practices during raising and slaughter, many of which are significantly worse than our own. Once abroad, animals are no longer protected under UK jurisdiction, which is much more welfare-friendly than other neighbouring countries. The vast majority of the British public would prefer British farm animals to be slaughtered in the UK and exported as meat. The live export of British farm animals to countries with poor animal welfare standards is completely unacceptable.”

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patron the Rt. Hon Sir Roger Gale MP commented: “The practice of exporting live animals for fattening and slaughter is incompatible with the UK’s high regard for animal welfare, and I am very pleased that the Government has taken steps to ban it, alongside a host of other measures to improve the welfare of animals in transport. As we join New Zealand in taking a stand against this vile trade it is my hope that we will blaze a trail for other countries to follow suit.”

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patron Stanley Johnson commented: “The UK now has the ability to strengthen its animal welfare laws outside of the jurisdiction of the EU.Today’s very welcome announcement on banning live exports of animals for fattening and slaughter forms one part of a raft of measures being implemented by the Government post-Brexit to improve the lives of animals both at home and abroad.

“The Government must now enact legislation without delay in order to cement its reputation as a global leader in animal welfare and ensure protections for animals in transport are implemented as soon as possible.”

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patron Sir David Amess MP commented: “After what has seemed an interminable time, I am so very pleased that the UK government has now set in train the process to stop the live export of animals and improve the conditions under which animals are transported. It is such a cruel practice and one which is totally unnecessary. I would like to thank all the animal welfare organisations who stood shoulder to shoulder with like-minded politicians to reach this momentous point in the journey to raise the welfare of animals.”

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patron Chris Loder MP commented: ‘I am delighted that our animals will no longer be exported abroad alive for potentially thousands of miles over multiple days for slaughter and fattening. It is an excellent step and fits in with this Conservative government’s fantastic record on animal welfare. The 21 hour maximum for domestic cattle transport, and similarly long maximums for other animals, is however still too long and we must continue working to reduce that journey time for the welfare and comfort of our farm animals.’

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