Thank you to all those who contacted me about live animal exports.

I have long supported a ban on exporting livestock from Great Britain for fattening and slaughter. I know long journeys on which animals suffer are not acceptable to the British people. I therefore support the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill which was introduced late in 2023, although I believe it is long overdue. It passed its Second Reading on 18 December 2023 and completed Committee Stage and Third Reading on 15 January 2024.

I was extremely disappointed the Government dropped the Kept Animals Bill. The Government subsequently said it would take forward measures within the Bill as single-issue pieces of legislation, delaying protections for animals. The decision to drop the Bill was not what the public, our dedicated animal welfare charities nor I wanted, and it represents a profound setback for animal welfare in the UK, with innocent animals suffering the consequences.

All animals deserve protection and I believe it is wrong to promise tougher legislation if promises are then not seen through.

Although live exports may have declined over the years, I am afraid in recent years we have still seen animals exported, particularly for fattening. What many of those animals experience in being transported for a long time is a real concern, putting them in danger of food and water deprivation, overcrowding, and lack of rest. Exporting animals has always risked their slaughter in conditions below UK standards. While we must ensure the system is put in place properly and is supported by our farming sector, I want to see an end to such exports.

There is also an obvious truth that long journeys in the UK to slaughterhouses also harm animal welfare. Nationwide, the number of local abattoirs has been significantly reduced, meaning many farmers have little choice but to send livestock long distances for slaughter. I want the Government commit to re-establishing a uniform network of slaughterhouses to end the suffering of animals undertaking extensive journeys within the UK.

Sheep being herded onto a truck
Sheep being herded onto a truck
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