Equestrians are urged to act as this is the “last chance” to pass legislation that would stop “horse smuggling”, and benefit many equines and other animals.
H&H reported that the Kept Animals Bill, which included a proposed ban on live exports for slaughter and new legislation on livestock worrying, was introduced to parliament in 2021. But despite support from politicians of different parties, it has since stalled. World Horse Welfare has warned that if the bill is not passed by the end of this year, it will be “dropped from the agenda”.
The charity has launched a #StopHorseSmuggling campaign, and is urging people to write to prime minister Rishi Sunak to ask him to deliver on his Government’s manifesto promise to ban live exports to slaughter, and pass the new legislation.
World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers said: “This is such a good bill that contains so much that is good for all animal welfare, including banning live export for slaughter and fattening, and livestock worrying. So much work has been put into developing this excellent legislation, which has cross-party support, it would be a travesty if this Government failed to allow the parliamentary time to get it across the line.”
Live export for slaughter is one of World Horse Welfare’s founding issues.
“No horse, pony or donkey has officially been exported for slaughter in recent years, but we know today that equines are being smuggled out of the country, often travelling in poor conditions under fraudulent identification, and that some of these end their days in a slaughterhouse,” Mr Owers said. “Passing the Kept Animals Bill into law and ensuring its proper enforcement could end this cruel trade. Please do all you can to support our campaign.”
World Horse Welfare has set up a website through which people can email Mr Sunak.
“Live export for slaughter does not just affect horses that have been bred for this trade,” a spokesman for the charity said. “Any horse can end up being exported to slaughter, from outgrown children’s ponies to former sports horses; horses sold with the best of intentions and in the belief that they could never end their lives in a slaughterhouse may well end up there.
“Many horses are being transported ‘under the radar’, often travelling long distances in sub-standard conditions. To many of us, horses are much-loved pets or members of the family, but to those involved in the trade of ‘low value’ horses between Britain and the EU they are simply a commodity. Falsely re-identifying a horse who has been signed out of the food chain with a fraudulent ‘clean’ passport makes a horse appear eligible for slaughter and therefore of more potential value to the trader.”
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The plans come under the new Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill which had its first reading on Tuesday (8 June)
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