UK Parliament Bans Live Animal Exports for Slaughter in Landmark Bill

The UK Parliament has passed the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill, banning the export of cattle, goats, pigs, and horses for slaughter or fattening overseas, marking a historic moment in animal welfare after 50 years of campaigning by organizations like Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA. The ban aims to end the unnecessary and inhumane treatment of millions of animals during long journeys, setting a precedent for other countries to follow and sparking a global shift in animal husbandry practices." This description focuses on the primary topic of the article (the ban on live animal exports), the main entities involved (UK Parliament, animal welfare organizations), the context (50 years of campaigning), and the significant actions and implications (ending inhumane treatment, setting a global precedent). The description also provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content, such as the types of animals involved and the concept of long journeys.

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Bijay Laxmi
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UK Parliament Bans Live Animal Exports for Slaughter in Landmark Bill

UK Parliament Bans Live Animal Exports for Slaughter in Landmark Bill

In a historic move, the UK Parliament has passed the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill, effectively banning the export of cattle, goats, pigs, and horses for slaughter or fattening overseas. The landmark legislation, which cleared its final parliamentary hurdle on Tuesday, marks the culmination of over 50 years of campaigning by animal welfare organizations and advocates.

Why this matters: This ban sets a precedent for other countries to follow, potentially sparking a global shift in the treatment and welfare of animals in the livestock industry. As the world grapples with issues like animal cruelty, climate change, and food sustainability, this legislation serves as a significant step towards a more compassionate and responsible approach to animal husbandry.

Once the bill comes into force, it will prohibit the export of farmed animals from Great Britain for slaughter or fattening, ending the unnecessary and archaic trade that has caused suffering, exhaustion, and even death to millions of animals during long, stressful journeys. Dame Joanna Lumley, Patron of Compassion in World Farming, 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."

The ban has been welcomed by animal welfare charities, with 87% of respondents in a 2020 public consultation supporting the move. The RSPCA, which has been fighting to end live animal exports for around 100 years, cited the grueling and unnecessary journeys that animals endure. Emma Slawinski, Advocacy Director at the RSPCA, described the passing of the law as "a momentous moment for animals - with this vote marking one of the biggest days for animal welfare in modern history."

UK government data shows an estimated 40 million animals have been exported for slaughter or fattening since the 1960s. Slawinski added, "I'll forever be haunted by the smell that comes off an export truck, and the calls of the animals inside which can still be heard as the ship leaves the port and sails into the distance." The new legislation also holds significance for horses, with Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare, stating: "Today is a defining moment in our nearly century-long and founding campaign. The passage of this law ensures that no horse, pony or donkey will legally be exported from Great Britain for slaughter."

However, the law does not apply to Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, and poultry, including chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys, are not covered by the ban. Live export will still be permitted for the purposes of breeding, competitions, or races for protected animals like horses. The National Farmer's Union (NFU) has raised concerns about how the government will ensure international trade deals meet these standards to prevent local farmers from being undercut.

The Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill will now go for Royal Assent before being finalized. This new legislation adds to the growing momentum around the world to address the welfare of live animals subjected to long and unnecessary journeys. Australia has committed to end the export of sheep by 2028, and a Brazilian court banned the export of live cattle from the country's ports last year. Animal welfare charities are calling for effective enforcement of the law and the introduction of full traceability of all equines to combat illegal exports.

Key Takeaways

  • UK Parliament bans live exports of cattle, goats, pigs, and horses for slaughter or fattening.
  • Landmark legislation ends 50-year campaign by animal welfare organizations and advocates.
  • Ban sets global precedent, potentially sparking shift in livestock industry animal welfare.
  • Estimated 40 million animals exported since 1960s; new law ends "grueling and unnecessary" journeys.
  • Law exempts Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, poultry, and certain horse exports.