BVA welcomes Government consultation on the welfare of livestock at transport

The British Veterinary Association has welcomed today’s announcement that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will begin an eight-week long consultation in England and Wales seeking views on live animals export and how to better protect animal welfare during transport.

While the BVA is not calling for a complete ban on live animal exports, in its policy on the welfare of livestock during transport, the association stated that animals should be slaughtered as close to the point of production as possible and that no animals farmed for food in the UK should be taken to destinations where welfare standards are below the UK minimum, exported for non-stun slaughter or exported and then raised in systems banned in this country.

BVA president, James Russell said: “BVA has long believed that animals should be slaughtered as close as possible to where they have been reared and not be exported to countries with unknown standards or standards that are below those in the UK. We welcome this consultation looking at all aspects of animal welfare at transport.

“Live animal transport is a complex issue which includes varying factors of welfare and needs of different species. It is important to recognise that journey length and time are not the only things which can affect welfare, and that an evidence-based approach to improvements is essential.”

Mr Russell added: “We regularly engage with Government on measures to safeguard animal welfare during transport, and recently gave evidence to the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC), on the issue. We will be liaising with our species-specific divisions, and members to form a response to this consultation.”

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