Live animal export restrictions: your say

Following on from the announcement that the government plans on restricting exports of live animals, we threw the question over to you and asked should they be restricted? 

As is turns out, 39% of those who took part in our survey believed that live animal exports should not be changed. Juxtaposing this, 38% believed that shey should be completely banned and 23% of you agreed that they should be restricted.

Addressing party members at the Conservative conference in Manchester on 4 October, Secretary of State for Environment Michael Gove said that the government was planning on restricting live animal exports.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirmed to Meat Trades Journal that plans were being established to proceed with the suggestions and said: “The government has a clear manifesto commitment to take steps to control the export of live farm animals for slaughter as we leave the EU. We are proud to have some of the highest animal welfare standards anywhere in the world and we will continue to take action to improve them.”

However, the UK does not only export living livestock for slaughter. Animals are often exported live for breeding and genetic purposes. Banning or restricting exports could undermine British farmers and put them at a disadvantage. The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has said that live exports operate under stringent EU transport regulations, with routes across the English Channel often shorter than domestic routes.

“Live exports are decreasing in number as the export trade has developed into carcases and cuts of meat,” said Charles Sercombe, NFU livestock board chairman.

“However, an ability to export live animals for breeding, further rearing and for slaughter is an important option for many livestock producers, particularly those selling high-value breeding animals.”

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