Animal welfare charities have welcomed a significant milestone as a law to ban live export for slaughter takes its first steps towards implementation.
H&H reported last month that the King’s speech had included an announcement of the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill. The bill was introduced to parliament on Monday (4 December).
“This marks a significant milestone in [our] almost 100-year history,” a spokesman for World Horse Welfare said. “The bill will ban live animal exports of horses and others, including cattle, sheep, and pigs, for slaughter and fattening from Great Britain.”
The bill comes after 87% of respondents to a public consultation agreed that livestock should not be exported for slaughter and fattening.
World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers 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.”
World Horse Welfare thanked all those who had backed its campaigns urging the Government to progress on this legislation, as it continues its campaign to stop long-distance transport to slaughter in the EU.
Kerry Postlewhite, assistant director of campaigns and prevention at the RSPCA, said: “After 50 years of campaigning to end live exports, it is so important, and welcome, that the UK Government is acting to ban the live export of animals – outlawing the long, crowded journeys, mental exhaustion, physical injury, dehydration and stress that are a reality for farm animals on these unnecessary journeys.
“It is great that the new Defra secretary of state has shown such strong and enthusiastic support previously for a ban on live exports – and we look forward to this policy becoming a reality.”
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.”
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