“Today marks a major step forward in delivering on our manifesto commitment to end live exports for slaughter.”
The UK could become the first European country to ban live animal exports, reports state.
Today, the government is launching an eight-week consultation seeking views on how to better protect animal welfare during transport.
Proposals, which have been welcomed by South Thanet MP, Craig Mackinlay, and will be under consideration in the review include putting a ban on live exports for slaughter and fattening, reducing maximum journey times, providing more space and headroom for animals in transit and implementing more stricter rules for transport by sea.
Livestock commonly have to endure excessively long and arduous journeys via Ramsgate Port, often causing unnecessary distress and injury. Officials said around 6,400 animals were transported from the UK directly to slaughter in continental Europe in 2018.
‘End this unnecessary practice’
While EU single market rules prohibited any member state from banning live animal exports previously, the UK Government now plans to become the first country in Europe to end the practice with the Brexit transition period ending on December 31.
“We are committed to improving the welfare of animals at all stages of life,” George Eustice, the environment and farm minister, said.
“Today marks a major step forward in delivering on our manifesto commitment to end live exports for slaughter. Now that we have left the EU, we have an opportunity to end this unnecessary practice.
“We want to ensure that animals are spared stress prior to slaughter.”
‘Landmark achievement for animal welfare’
Animal welfare groups, who have been campaigning to stop the practice for more than 50 years, welcomed the news.
Calling it “a landmark achievement for animal welfare”, RSPCA’s CEO, Chris Sherwood, said: “There is absolutely no reasonable justification to subject an animal to an unnecessarily stressful journey abroad simply for them to be fattened for slaughter.
“Ending live exports for slaughter and further fattening would be a landmark achievement for animal welfare.”
Welcoming the “unambiguous proposal”, Peter Stevenson, Compassion in World Farming’s chief policy advisor, said: “We urge farmers not to oppose the proposed ban but rather to recognise that this is an important part of moving forward to a high welfare future.”
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