Welfare body makes plea to incentivise carcase-only trade

The RSPCA is urging the government to incentivise the livestock sector to switch from live animal trade to meat only.

The animal welfare charity wants the government to back 100% checks at ports, as well as offering incentives to make the switch to carcase-only trade, specifically in the sheep industry.

The RSPCA has written to farming minister George Eustice MP urging him to take action “to safeguard the welfare of thousands of farm animals involved in live exports”.

It said the government had always preferred a trade in meat to one in live animals. “The government has repeatedly said they are in favour of a carcase trade – now is their chance to fund incentives to market English and Welsh lamb and maintain jobs in the livestock sector in a move that would improve the welfare of thousands of farm animals,” said David Bowles, RSPCA head of public affairs.

It cited the recent conviction of Channel Livestock’s owner Thomas Lomas, after the deaths of over 40 sheep due to lorry export, as an example of why it wanted to see a move towards carcase trade.

Bowles added: “The calf industry provides us with a perfect example of how the market can be developed in Britain to support the farming industry and animal welfare. The RSPCA is calling on the governments in England and Wales to play their part in fulfilling their promise to have a carcase only trade.”

However, the NFU told Meatinfo.co.uk that there is nothing wrong with live exports. NFU chief livestock adviser Peter Garbutt said: “Live exports are a perfectly legitimate, legal and valuable trade and meat exports have for a long time accounted for the vast majority of the UK live trade.

“The health and welfare of the animals on any journey, of any length, is farmers’ top priority. The operations are overseen by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) and all animals and vehicles are checked and inspected before they’re allowed to travel. The trucks that are used are purpose built for these journeys and include drinkers for the livestock and fans to increase air flow in warm weather.”

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