Government considering controls on live animal exports

Defra confirms government ministers are looking into the issue of live export and are considering options of controlling live export of animals after Brexit.
calendar icon 15 December 2017
clock icon 3 minute read

The Government Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced in a parliamentary debate earlier this week, that the Government believes animals should be slaughtered as close as practicable to their point of production.

It was stated that a trade in meat and meat products is preferable to the long-distance transport of animals to slaughter.

DEFRA Minister, Therese Coffey, confirmed that once Brexit is complete, the UK can take steps to developing its own controls on the transport of live animals for slaughter:

Once we leave the European Union, and in line with our manifesto commitment, we can take early steps to control the export of live farm animals for slaughter. We will be considering the options further in the context of our departure from the EU.

Coffey is reported to have told parliament that the live export trade remained “a considerable concern” despite a huge fall in recent years:

We have always been clear that the government would prefer to see animals slaughtered as near as possible to their point of production.

We are currently considering options [for control of live export], but the issue is rather complex and any future proposals would have to consider trade between the UK and Ireland, whether that is with Northern Ireland or across the Republic of Ireland.

She added that live exports were restricted by the EU, but Brexit was a “unique opportunity to shape future animal welfare policy to ensure the highest standards in every area”.


Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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