Ban on live animal exports for slaughter explored by UK government

Date published: 10 April 2018

DAERA Chief Veterinary Officer Robert Huey has urged Northern Ireland stakeholders to respond to a UK wide call for evidence on live exports of farm animals.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in London is seeking views on controlling live exports of farm animals for slaughter once the United Kingdom has left the European Union, in order to improve animal welfare. 

This exercise, which will also examine higher welfare standards for live animal movements, was launched by Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on behalf of the UK government and Devolved Administrations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Mr Gove has stated that all options will be considered and he is keen to hear from industry, the devolved authorities and charities in relation to this issue.

A number of future improvements in this area are being considered by DEFRA, including a potential ban on the live export of animals for slaughter.

Robert Huey, the Chief Veterinary Officer for Northern Ireland said: “As the agricultural industry in Northern Ireland is involved in the transportation of significant volumes of live animals to Great Britain, Ireland and to other European member states, I would encourage all key stakeholders to make their voices heard.

“In order to create a complete and rounded picture, I would encourage anyone with an interest in this area to consider the document and submit evidence.”

The call for evidence, which will last for six weeks, was launched today (10 April 2018).

DEFRA has indicated that it will discuss the evidence and any future proposals with the Devolved Administrations, including Northern Ireland.

For more information on this call for evidence and details on how to respond, please visit the DEFRA website.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The UK Government’s full manifesto commitment in this area is “as we leave the European Union, we can take early steps to control the export of live farm animals for slaughter.”
  2. The response document can accessed directly on the DEFRA website.
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  4. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email DAERA Press Office. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.

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