UK proposes ban on live animal exports for slaughter

"Today marks a major step forward in delivering on our manifesto commitment to end live exports for slaughter."

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The UK is one step closer to banning the exportation of live animals for slaughter. If passed, the UK will become the first European country to end such a practice.

The ban, which was a campaign promise from the ruling Conservative Party, would apply to live animals exported for slaughter from England and Wales, BBC News reported. The Conservative Party’s newly announced plan will go through an eight-week consultation period, launched by George Eustice, Defra secretary, on Thursday and will concentrate on “how to improve animal welfare during transport within the UK,” EcoWatch reported. The results of the consultation will be reviewed by Parliament in the middle of 2021 and the ban will take effect at the end of that same year.

“We are committed to improving the welfare of animals at all stages of life,” Eustice said. “Today marks a major step forward in delivering on our manifesto commitment to end live exports for slaughter.”

As part of the consultation, the government will also look into further improving the welfare of animals during transport to include:

  • Reduced maximum journey times
  • Animals being given more space and headroom during transport
  • Stricter rules on transporting animals in extreme temperatures
  • Tighter rules for transporting live animals by sea.

“Now that we have left the EU, we have an opportunity to end this unnecessary practice,” Eustice said. “We want to ensure that animals are spared stress prior to slaughter.”

A few exceptions to the ban include animals exported from Northern Ireland and the export of poultry or animals intended for breeding, The Guardian reported.

As part of post-Brexit animal protection measures, UK animal welfare groups are praising the ban saying, “ending live exports for slaughter and further fattening would be a landmark achievement for animal welfare.”

“This is great news, it is far too stressful to export live animals for slaughter,” Iris Baumgaertner from Germany’s Animal Welfare Foundation said.

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