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Gove explores ban on live animal exports for slaughter
Defra says all options for improving welfare are being considered, including a potential ban on export for slaughter.
Call for evidence to look at options for improving welfare 

The live export of animals for slaughter could be banned after Brexit, the government said as it launched a call for evidence today (10 April).

Over the next six weeks, views will be welcomed from industry, the devolved authorities, charities and members of the public, on how the government could improve animal welfare during transport.

More than 4,000 sheep are transported from the UK to continental Europe for slaughter every year, according to the latest figures from 2016. Defra says all options for improving welfare are being considered, including a potential ban on export for slaughter.

Announcing the call for evidence, environment secretary Michael Gove said: “All animals deserve to get the respect and care they deserve at every stage of their lives.

“This call for evidence begins to deliver on our manifesto commitment which aims to control the export of live animals for slaughter once we leave the European Union.”

BVA president John Fishwick welcomed the ban.

“We believe that production animals should not be transported long distances to the abattoir but should be slaughtered as near to the point of production as possible,” he explained. “Animals should be transported on the hook, as meat, not on the hoof, as live animals.

“It is vital that we maintain the UK’s current high standards of animal welfare post-Brexit and seek opportunities to improve them. We look forward to contributing to this call and seeing the results once the evidence has been collected.”

The Farm Animal Welfare Committee has also launched a review into existing welfare standards, which is being complemented by research from Scotland’s Rural College and the University of Edinburgh.

To share your views, visit: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/animal-health-and-welfare/live-exports-and-improving-welfare-in-transport/

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Vets save premature penguin chick

News Story 1
 Vets have saved a tiny Humboldt penguin chick after her egg was accidentally broken by her parents. Keepers at ZSL London Zoo were shocked to find the chick, named Rainbow, still alive and rushed her straight to the Zoo’s on-site veterinary clinic.

It was a little way to go until the chick should have hatched, so the process was touch and go. Vets removed bits of shell from around the chick with tweezers until she could be lifted out and placed in a makeshift nest.

Rainbow is now in a custom-built incubation room where she spends her days cuddled up to a toy penguin. Keepers will hand-fed Rainbow for the next 10 weeks until she is healthy enough to move to the penguin nursery.  

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News Shorts
BVA infographic to help shoppers understand farm assurance schemes

An infographic to help members of the public understand farm assurance schemes has been produced by the BVA. The infographic outlines BVA’s priorities for animal welfare and shows whether or not the schemes address these priorities in their standards.

BVA president John Fishwick said: “The infographic is not intended to be a league table but to allow people to understand what aspects of animal health and welfare are addressed by assurance schemes so that they can decide which scheme best aligns with their own individual preferences and priorities."