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HomeFarming NewsUK to end live exports
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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UK to end live exports

The UK could become the first European country to end live exports of animals for slaughter and fattening.

The measure is contained in the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which the government will introduce to parliament today (Tuesday, June 8th, 2021).

The government said the bill will improve welfare standards through a wide range of measures for pets, farmed and kept wild animals – including through a ban on keeping primates as pets.

It is delivering the bill as part of its flagship action plan for animal welfare.

New powers to crack down on puppy smuggling will be brought in under new legislation set to be introduced today.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill will raise animal welfare standards in five key areas:

  • Puppy smuggling: The government will introduce new powers to tackle the unethical trade of puppy smuggling by reducing the number of pets (dogs, cats, and ferrets) that can travel under pet travel rules. Also, it will include powers for the government to bring in further restrictions on the movement of pets on welfare grounds. For example, by increasing the minimum age of imported puppies. Also, restricting the import of pregnant dogs and dogs with mutilations such as cropped ears and tails.
  • Live exports: “Live animals can endure excessively long journeys during export, causing distress and injury.” “EU rules prevented any changes to these journeys, but the UK Government is now free to pursue plans which would see a ban on the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening.” “We will become the first European country to end this practice.”
  • Banning keeping primates as pets: The Government will deliver on its manifesto commitment to introduce a ban on keeping them as pets, ensuring that all primates being kept privately in England are being kept at zoo-level standards and that those unable to meet the standards are phased out.
  • Livestock worrying: The Bill will give new powers to the police to provide greater protection to livestock from dangerous and out of control dogs. The Bill will also extend this protection to other species such as llamas, ostriches, and game birds.
  • Zoos: The Zoo Licensing Act will be amended to improve zoo regulations and ensure that zoos are doing more to contribute to conservation.
Environment Secretary, George Eustice said:

“The Kept Animals Bill will bring in some of the world’s highest and strongest protections for pets, livestock and kept wild animals.”

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“As an independent nation outside the EU, we are now able to go further than ever on animal welfare by banning the export of live animal exports for slaughter and fattening, prohibiting keeping primates as pets and bringing in new powers to tackle puppy smuggling.”

Today’s announcement is the second piece of legislation introduced in the last month to drive better animal welfare standards.

It follows the government’s decision to formally recognise animals as sentient beings in domestic law through the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, which was introduced to Parliament on May 13th.

As well as the new Kept Animals Bill, the government will also announce a series of further reforms this year,

These will relate to:

  • Microchipping;
  • Pet theft;
  • Farm animal welfare;
  • Tackling wildlife crime.
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