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UK to consider ban on exporting live animals to European slaughterhouses

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-04-10 19:28
Piglets bred by Deerpark Pedigree Pigs in Northern Ireland are known for their resilience. Photo provided to China Daily

LONDON - A ban on the export to mainland Europe of life animals for slaughter is to be explored by the British government, the country's top foods minister announced Tuesday.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced a call for evidence for the ban to be introduced once Britain leaves the European Union (EU) next March.

Every year thousands of sheep are shipped from Britain to slaughterhouses in EU countries, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

A spokesperson for Defra said: "Taking action on live animal exports forms part of the government's program of reforms to cement our position as a global leader in animal welfare."

The official Farm Animal Welfare Committee has also launched a review into the existing welfare standards for animals during transport, complemented by research commissioned by Defra from Scotland's Rural College and the University of Edinburgh.

Gove said: "We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world which we are strengthening further by raising maximum sentences for animal cruelty to five years and introducing mandatory CCTV in abattoirs.

"All animals deserve to get the respect and care they deserve at every stage of their lives. This call for evidence begins to deliver on our commitment which aims to control the export of live animals for slaughter once we leave the European Union."

The call for evidence, which will last for six weeks, seeks views from across industry, devolved authorities, charities and the general public on how the government might raise standards of animal welfare during transport after Britain leaves the EU.

"All options for future improvements in this area are being considered, including a potential ban on the live export of animals for slaughter," said Defra.

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