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The ILPH has launched a campaign to prevent the resumption of the live export of equines for slaughter from the UK, after a legislation loophole was exposed that could lead to the resumption of live export trade.

Following the publication of the new EU draft regulation on the transportation of animals, the current minimum values legislation, which prevents the export of horses and ponies under a certain value, has come under the spotlight. There is concern that the current legislation might be deemed untenable on the grounds that it contravenes free trade between member states.

The ILPH was instrumental in the establishment of the minimum value legislation back in 1937 with the instigation of The Exportation of Horses Act. Minimum values are set higher than meat prices to ensure that equines are not exported live for consumption.

This legal quibble has been a serious worry for the ILPH since 1995, according to ILPH spokesperson, Lynda Freebrey. “Our attention was drawn to this potential loophole when it first materialised, which was in the previous regulation,” she explains. “It was decided not to bring the subject to public attention, as DEFRA was effectively enforcing minimum values, but we now feel it is time to raise awareness of the issue and get public support.”

The ILPH has created an online petition and is asking people to show their support by signing it. To view the ILPH petition click here.

Supporters of the ILPH’s latest campaign include the British Event Team, fresh from their gold medal at the European Championships. “We owe it to our horses and ponies to protect them,” says Grand Slam winner Pippa Funnell. “We must act now and support the ILPH.”

Other high-profile supporters include Roger Helmer, MEP for the East Midlands who says: “There is a strong consensus in the European Parliament that live animals are suffering unnecessarily on excessively long journeys across Europe and we, like the ILPH, are actively seeking to reduce the maximum hours they travel. I urge all those who care about animals to support the ILPH campaign.”

The ILPH has been working closely with the EC and DEFRA with the ultimate aim of ending live transport of horses, ponies and donkeys in all countries. “If all equines have to be slaughtered within the borders of their home country, it would negate the need for minimum value legislation,” says Lynda.

To sign the online petition, visit: www.ilph.org/petitions.asp. For a campaign pack (tel: 0870 906 1927).