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Livestock transport laws too vague, study finds
“All studied countries fall short in guaranteeing adequate protection to livestock during transport” – Ben Lecorps.
Researchers call for more specific legislation.

Animal transport regulations are failing to adequately protect livestock on long journeys, according to a new study by academics from the Universities of Bristol, Essex, and British Columbia.

The researchers conducted a ‘fitness check’ on existing laws in the EU, the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, focusing on four major welfare risk factors: fitness for transport, journey duration, climatic conditions and space allowances.

Assessing the regulations in light of relevant scientific literature, they found that the majority of the laws were insufficient or too vague to be considered fit for purpose. For example, current EU space allowances fail to provide heavy cattle with the space that scientists have found they need to move between laying down and standing.

The team also looked at some proposed changes to the law. They highlighted that the UK’s planned ban on the export of livestock for slaughter from Great Britain will only apply to certain species, meaning that animals such as poultry will not be covered.

Ben Lecorps, study co-author and Animal Welfare lecturer at the Bristol Veterinary School, said: “All studied countries fall short in guaranteeing adequate protection to livestock during transport.

“Whilst this does not mean that all animals transported will experience serious harms, major risk factors such as excessively long journeys, or journeys during hot weather, are not being addressed to a satisfactory level.”

Eugénie Duval, study co-author and lecturer in Law at the Essex Law School, said: “Even if they do not necessarily reflect the latest scientific evidence, some regulations are more specific than others.

“If we were to take the best from each regulatory framework (e.g. fitness for transport in Canada; providing species-specific thresholds for the temperature inside vehicles in the EU) and apply some of the propositions made by some countries (e.g. a ban of export outside the EU borders: proposition of some EU member states), the ensuing regulations would be a major step closer to safeguarding animal welfare during transportation.”

The study, which was funded by
the Hans Sigrist Research Prize and a grant from the Humane Slaughter Association, has been published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

Image © Shutterstock

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Bristol uni celebrates 75 years of teaching vets

News Story 1
 The University of Bristol's veterinary school is celebrating 75 years of educating veterinary students.

Since the first group of students were admitted in October 1949, the school has seen more than 5,000 veterinary students graduate.

Professor Jeremy Tavare, pro vice-chancellor and executive dean for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: "I'm delighted to be celebrating Bristol Veterinary School's 75 years.

"Its excellence in teaching and research has resulted in greater understanding and some real-world changes benefiting the health and welfare of both animals and humans, which is testament to the school's remarkable staff, students and graduates." 

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News Shorts
RCVS HQ to temporarily relocate

The headquarters of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is to move temporarily, ahead of its permanent relocation later in the year.

From Monday, 26 February 2024, RCVS' temporary headquarters will be at 2 Waterhouse Square, Holborn, London. This is within walking distance of its current rented offices at The Cursitor, Chancery Lane.

RCVS have been based at The Cursitor since February 2022, following the sale of its Westminster premises the previous March.

However, unforeseen circumstances relating to workspace rental company WeWork filing for bankruptcy means The Cursitor will no longer operate as a WeWork space. The new temporary location is still owned by WeWork.

RCVS anticipates that it will move into its permanent location at Hardwick Street, Clerkenwell, later on in the year.