The UK government, has today (Wednesday, August 18th) introduced new animal welfare measures to raise standards.
- 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.
These new rules will apply to animals transported within England and Wales and all journeys over 65km.
Animal welfare measures
In making the announcement, the government highlighted 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.
The new measures come alongside the introduction of a ban on live animal exports for slaughter and fattening, currently going through parliament.
Announcing the new standards, Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
“We have listened to the concerns raised relating to our proposed changes to transport regulations and have made changes to address these. We will continue to work with the industry on the remaining details.”
Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd Lesley Griffiths said:
“Animal welfare is a priority for the Welsh Government. We are proud of our record on delivering high standards in this field.”
“These proposals go further again to ensure that the welfare of animals is protected throughout their lives, including during transport. We will now work with the industry on implementing the changes.”
Live export ban
Furthermore, RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said:
“We are absolutely thrilled that the live export of animals is finally coming to an end after campaigning on this issue for more than 50 years.”
“This is a victory for every single person who has signed a petition, demonstrated at the docks, written to their MPs and leaders and most importantly for the animals.”
Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association, said:
James Given, director of Equine Health and Welfare at the British Horseracing Authority, welcomed the announcement.
He said the consultation highlighted several other measures that could help improve animal welfare during transport.
These included better training for animal transporters and new guidance on an animal’s fitness to travel.