MPs' inquiry to scrutinise potential live export ban

Government proposals will 'bring a raft of changes' for those who export live animals
Government proposals will 'bring a raft of changes' for those who export live animals

MPs have launched an inquiry seeking to understand how a potential ban on exporting live animals for fattening and slaughter would impact farmers.

Plans to ban exports of live animals for slaughter were unveiled by Defra last month despite longstanding concerns by the livestock sector.

Defra Secretary George Eustice said the controversial ban could be in force by the end of next year.

The House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee has launched an inquiry into how it may impact on farmers.

The inquiry will also look at potential improvements for animal health and welfare.

European Union law currently prevents any restriction on imports and exports between member states.

Mr Eustice explained that because of Brexit, it would 'strengthen the UK's position as a world leader on animal welfare'.

But EFRA Committee member and veterinary surgeon, Dr Neil Hudson MP, said the new inquiry wanted to know what support would be available for farmers to adjust.

"Thousands of animals, from pets to racehorses to farm animals, are moved between the UK and the EU every year.

"We want to understand the effects of new regulations on our important farming and equine industries and what support they will need to adjust.

"We need our new rules to be underpinned by the best possible evidence, and our inquiry will hold the government to account on this.”

Chair of the EFRA Committee, Neil Parish MP, said the government’s proposals would bring a 'raft of changes' for those who export live animals.

"While I welcome the ambition to improve animal welfare, it is important that the government considers the impacts on British farmers of a ban on live exports and what will happen to animals that would be exported."

The Committee will also scrutinise the UK’s capacity and effectiveness in certifying, recording and inspecting animal movements across borders, as well as responding to outbreaks of animal disease.

The movement of horses, ponies and donkeys for breeding and racing will also be considered.