The Government introduced legislation to Parliament yesterday (4 December 2023) that will ban the export of live animals from Great Britain for slaughter and fattening.
If passed by Parliament, the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill will apply to cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and horses. The ban formed part of the Government’s election manifesto.
No animals have officially been exported from Great Britain for slaughter since 31 December 2020. The new law will make the pause on exports permanent.
Live exports for other purposes, such as breeding and taking part in competitions, will still be permitted.
Environment secretary Steve Barclay said: “We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world.
“This bill makes use of post-Brexit freedoms to strengthen these standards by preventing the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening, which we know causes animals unnecessary stress and injury.”
The new legislation has been welcomed by animal welfare charities that have campaigned for a ban, including the RSPCA, Compassion in World Farming, and World Horse Welfare.
Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare, said: "We are delighted that the Government has introduced this bill and will put its muscle behind making it law. We know horses are being exported for slaughter 'under the radar' despite none being officially declared for this purpose.
“This bill will finally make it illegal, something we have been campaigning for since our charity’s foundation. We look forward to working with Defra to ensure that the right measures are put in place to enforce this hugely significant piece of legislation.”
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