‘A monumental step’ towards banning live transport to slaughter

  • A bill that would ban live exports of equines for slaughter took a major step forward yesterday (Tuesday) with one final step before it becomes law.

    The Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill had its third and final reading in the House of Lords, so it now just needs royal assent before it passes into law.

    World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers said yesterday was “a defining moment” in the charity’s “nearly century-long and founding campaign”. World Horse Welfare was founded in 1927 by Ada Cole, who stood on the docks of Antwerp and witnessed the cruel treatment of British work horses being unloaded and taken to slaughter.

    Mr Owers said: “The passage of this law ensures that no horse, pony or donkey will legally be exported from Great Britain for slaughter and while this is a monumental step forward, plenty more needs to be achieved to effectively combat the illegal export of equines from the country.

    “This will rely on the new law being effectively enforced and the introduction of full traceability of all equines, and we look forward to working with Defra to achieve this. In the 21st century it is preposterous that equine ID is still based on a paper system, which simply provides an open door for horse smugglers.”

    The bill was introduced in The King’s Speech on 7 November 2023, which set out the Government’s agenda for the next year.

    RSPCA director for advocacy Emma Slawinski added it 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,” she said.

    “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.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...