Sending Animals Abroad For Slaughter To Be Banned In England And Wales
In new post-Brexit plans, live animal exports for slaughter and fattening will be banned in both England and Wales.
UK Environment Secretary George Eustice hopes the plans will be in force by the end of 2021 with a package of reforms expecting to go to parliament next summer. The plans were unveiled today, December 3.
In addition to no longer allowing animals to be sent abroad for slaughter and fattening, there are plans to cut the amount of time livestock spends in trucks, for the animals to be given more space and headroom during transport, tighter rules on transporting animals in extreme temperatures and stricter rules of transporting animals by sea.
While the National Farmers Union didn’t ask for an out-right ban and simply called for improvements to export rules, the RSPCA has described the news as ‘a landmark achievement for animal welfare’.
Based on internal figures, it’s believed around 6,400 animals were transported from the UK directly to slaughter in continental Europe in 2018.
A local authority in Kent previously tried to have these bans put in place after a lorry full of lame sheep was discovered at a local port in 2012. The animals had to be put down as a consequence, reported BBC News.
However, the High Court turned down the ban stating that it was a breach of EU free trade rules.
Discussing the new plans for 2021, Eustice said in a press release:
We are committed to improving the welfare of animals at all stages of life. Today marks a major step forward in delivering on our manifesto commitment to end live exports for slaughter.
He continued, ‘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.’
Chris Sherwood, CEO for the RSPCA, added:
We welcome plans to end live exports and look forward to seeing this happen as the RSPCA has campaigned on this issue for more than 50 years. 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.
While Wales and England are currently consulting on the new plans, Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU legislation on animal welfare in transport for as long as the Northern Ireland Protocol is in place. The protocol is an arrangement where goods will not need to be checked along the Irish border when the new UK-EU relationship begins in the new year.
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