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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

UK Bill Banning Live Animal Export Ready for Royal Assent

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 15, 2024

The Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill had its third reading in UK Parliament on May 14 and now awaits Royal Assent to become law. The bill seeks to end the export of cattle, horses, sheep, goats and pigs for fattening and slaughter from and through England, Wales and Scotland.

A speech made by UK King Charles on November 7, 2023, set out the government's agenda for the coming political year which included the bill.

The legislation follows a 2020 consultation on ending live animal exports in which 87% of respondents agreed that livestock should not be exported for slaughter and fattening.

For decades, millions of animals have endured transit for days or weeks, potentially suffering extreme temperatures and poor access to food and water. Many then end up in conditions that are illegal in the UK, such as veal crates where very young calves are kept in complete isolation and unable to even turn around.  

The Bill will make the UK the first European country to ban live animal exports, following in the footsteps of New Zealand, Australia and Brazil which have all made commitments to ending or phasing out the trade. The EU is currently the largest exporter of live animals, but the UK ban may influence attitudes ahead of upcoming EU elections.

Compassion for World Farming says its ban live exports campaign received unyielding support from celebrities including Patron, Dame Joanna Lumley, who exclaimed: “Finally, finally, finally, we can celebrate the news that live farm animals will never again be exported on long, horrendous journeys from our shores only to be fattened or slaughtered. For decades, we at Compassion in World Farming have worked tirelessly to bring this campaign to everyone’s attention.

“We are deeply thankful to the Government for taking action at long last and to our supporters for never giving up the fight – I’m so proud to say that, together, we have banned live exports!”

Yvonne Birchall, from Kent Action Against Live Exports (KAALE), said: “For 29 years, KAALE and their supporters have demonstrated outside UK ports as live export shipments have been loaded on vessels bound for Europe. It has been truly heartbreaking to witness these animals crammed into trucks.”

Iain Green, Director of Animal Aid, said: “We’re hopeful that this Bill will be enshrined into law quickly, ahead of the general election, in order to prevent the suffering of millions of animals.”

He recalled the dedication of animal rights promoter, Jill Phipps, who died after being hit by a lorry whilst protesting against the export of live veal calves from Coventry in 1995, saying this victory undoubtedly belongs to Jill and to the countless supporters who never gave up.  

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