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England and Wales to Ban Trade of Live Animals for Slaughter

Kira Lomas reports on the leading efforts of England and Wales to ban live exportation – a massive accomplishment in ensuring a cruelty-free future for animals

Photo by Cotton Bro

Poor implementation of live animal exportation laws and growing concern from animal welfare groups have sparked a renewed government effort on behalf of England and Wales to eradicate the trade of live animals for slaughter. This decision shows a major step in raising the standards of animal welfare, an ethical campaign that has been going on for more than fifty years.

New legislation outlined by George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, states that as a result of Britain’s plans to leave the EU, prioritising animal welfare has been of high importance and presents an opportunity to end this unnecessary practice.

Previously, Britain’s relationship with the EU and the rules set out on trade restricted changes being made to animal protection measures, including the excessively long journey times animals endured. Therefore, announcing the ban signals a momentous step in the protection and nurturing of these sentient beings.

Profits Over Protection

With increased demand for meat globally, the live animal transportation industry has more than quadrupled in size over the last 50 fifty years, meaning that it has amassed considerably large profits, now said to be worth £21 billion. However, this booming trade has not come without its criticisms and concerns on the effectiveness of the regulations put in place to protect the animals being exported thousands of miles across land and sea.

For many activists and animal welfare advocates, the trade raises many ethical questions on the treatment of animals forced on these gruelling journeys, and ultimately begs the question of whether laws are being executed properly to protect them. The consensus amongst these campaigners is worrying, exposing the devastating truth that exportation is causing significant suffering and distress for some animals involved in this trade.

Herded onto trucks or ships, the long-distance trips frequently result in animals experiencing a multitude of abuses such as dehydration, heat exhaustion and overcrowding only to later meet a grisly end, being fattened and slaughtered on arrival. This is a shocking indication of how animal trade laws are being violated, thus placing these beings at severe risk and subjecting them to a brutal and objectifying existence. These bad practices highlight the moral inconsistencies in EU trade laws in which policymaking continues to take precedence over animal protection.

"There is absolutely no reasonable justification to subject an animal to an unnecessarily stressful journey abroad simply for them to be fattened for slaughter." - Chris Sherwood, Chief Executive officer of Compassion in World Farming (CIWF)

A Kinder Future for Animals

Following a series of endless consultations and delays in decision-finalising, there were doubts amongst campaigners and even Labour and Tory MPs on whether the government would take a firm stand on delivering their promises of a ban. However, these discussions have finally prompted a political agreement on prohibiting live exports, signalling a strong push from the government to give animals the humane future they deserve.

The implementation of the ban has been described by the RSPCA as a "landmark achievement" for animal welfare. After years and years of long-running campaigns, the tenacity of the public and their unwavering support has finally given way to a triumphant win for animal welfare, showing England and Wales as a leading force on this subject and hopefully setting the standard for other European countries to follow in their footsteps.

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