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Live export ban set to become law
The RSPCA, Compassion in World Farming, and World Horse Welfare are among the charities which have welcomed the bill.
Animal welfare charities celebrate “momentous moment”.

A bill banning the live export of animals for fattening or slaughter is set to become law after completing its journey through Parliament.

The Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill, which will permanently end the live export of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and horses from Great Britain, passed its third and final reading in the House of Lords on Tuesday, 14 May 2024, and will now go for Royal Assent.

Live exports from Great Britain have been paused since December 2020, but in previous decades used to be a frequent occurrence. According to government data, up to 40 million farm animals have been exported for fattening or slaughter since the 1960s, with numbers peaking in the 1990s.

Despite decades of campaigning against the practice, which campaigners say causes animals unnecessary stress, exhaustion and injuries, the government had been unable to introduce a ban owing to EU trading rules while the UK was a member state.

The new law has received support from animal welfare charities including the RSPCA, Compassion in World Farming, and World Horse Welfare.

Emma Slawinski, the RSPCA’s director for advocacy, said: “This is a momentous moment for animals - with this vote marking one of the biggest days for animal welfare in modern history. 

Sadly, I’ve witnessed up close the reality of these exports and the impact they have on animals.

“I’ll forever be haunted by the smell that comes off an export truck, and the calls of the animals inside which can still be heard as the ship leaves the port and sails into the distance. Every time I talk about the live exports of animals, that smell and those sounds come back to me.

“Fortunately, after so many years campaigning, the mental exhaustion, injury, hunger, dehydration and stress animals are at risk of on these cruel journeys will now - once and for all - be consigned to the history books in this country.”

The bill will allow live exports in specific other circumstances, such as for breeding and competitions, to continue provided that the animals are transported in line with legal requirements designed to protect their welfare.

Image © Shutterstock

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Reporting service for dead wild birds updated

News Story 1
 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its online reporting service for dead wild birds.

The new version allows those reporting a dead bird to drop a pin on a map when reporting the location. It also includes a wider range of wild bird species groups to select from when describing the bird.

The online service, which helps APHA to monitor the spread of diseases such as avian influenza, can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
NI chief vet urges bluetongue vigilance

Northern Ireland's chief veterinary officer (CVO) has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of bluetongue, after the Animal and Plant Health Agency warned there was a very high probability of further cases in Great Britain.

There have been 126 confirmed cases of bluetongue virus serotype 3 in England since November 2023, with no cases reported in Northern Ireland. The movement of live ruminants from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is currently suspended.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the virus is most likely to enter Northern Ireland through infected animals or germplasm (semen or ova) being imported.

Brian Dooher, Northern Ireland's CVO, said: "Surveillance for this disease within Northern Ireland has been increased to assist with detection at the earliest opportunity which will facilitate more effective control measures."

Farmers should report any suspicions of the disease to their private veterinary practitioner, the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or their local DAERA Direct Veterinary Office.