The live export of animals for fattening or slaughter will be banned, the Government has announced.
Included in the King’s Speech on Tuesday, 7 September, the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill will ban the export of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and horses.
Although no animals have been exported for slaughter since 31 December 2020, the new law will make this permanent.
The news has been welcomed by animal welfare organisations who have campaigned over many decades for the practice to be banned. In September, a petition signed by more than 95,000 people was submitted to the Prime Minister by Compassion in World Farming.
Following the announcement, the charity’s patron Dame Joanna Lumley said: “This is absolutely marvellous news. Now the Government must deliver and ban the archaic practice of transporting live animals on long and arduous journeys overseas for slaughter or fattening once and for all.
“Exporting live animals is utterly unnecessary. They suffer enormous stress, exhaustion, dehydration and overcrowding. We have seen a series of broken promises from Government on this subject over the years so this is very welcome news. This bill must now be passed as a matter of urgency.”
A ban on live exports had previously formed part of the Kept Animals Bill, which was dropped by the Government earlier this year. The bill had included a range of additional animal welfare measures, including a ban on importing dogs with cropped ears and measures to tackle puppy smuggling and livestock worrying.
The limited amount of animal health and welfare legislation in the King’s Speech has drawn criticism from the animal welfare and veterinary sectors.
British Veterinary Association president Anna Judson said: “Whilst it’s positive to see the existing stop on live animal exports for slaughter will now be made permanent, the Government needs to urgently turn its attention to strengthening rules on animal importation which are exposing the UK to the serious emerging diseases like Brucella canis.
“In addition, the Government must deliver on its manifesto commitment to close the legal loopholes enabling the import of animals who have been subject to cruel and unnecessary mutilations which are illegal in the UK, like cropping dogs’ ears.”
Image © Shutterstock