The UK government has confirmed it is legislating to ban the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening.

The announcement was made yesterday, Wednesday, August 19, by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and includes new rules on maximum journey times, additional headroom and additional welfare measures to be introduced for the transportation of farm animals.

According to the statement from Defra, the new rules, which it says “are being developed in partnership with the farming industry”, will apply to animals being transported within England and Wales.

The new rules “come alongside the introduction of a ban on live animal exports for slaughter and fattening”.

Defra outlined that the regulation is currently going through the UK parliament as part of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill.

According to the statement, the new proposals “will raise welfare standards for farm animals” by:

  • Introducing shorter maximum journey times for live animals – between four and 24 hours depending on the species of animal;
  • Giving animals more headroom during transport;
  • Stricter rules on the transport of animals during extreme hot or cold temperatures.

Continuing, the Defra statement outlined: “EU rules had previously prevented any changes to animal welfare rules, however as an independent nation the UK is now able to go further and build on the UK’s position as a world leader in this field through a series of reforms to improve standards, as set out in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare”.

These new conditions would apply to all journeys over 65km. The statement noted that: “Independent evidence has shown that very long journeys can cause heat stress, dehydration and physical injuries in transported animals such as horses, pigs, sheep, poultry and cattle”.

Concluding, the statement noted: “Over one billion animals are farmed in the UK each year, many of which are transported within the country for slaughter, fattening and breeding”.