Thank you for contacting me about live animal exports.
I understand the strength of feeling about this issue and believe animals should be slaughtered locally wherever possible. However, under European Union free trade rules it is illegal to ban the export of animals to other EU countries. It is therefore imperative that the highest standards of animal welfare are followed by any business dealing with animals, and that these same standards are enforced across the EU.
EU and UK laws both protect the welfare of animals during transport. The European Commission recently studied the effectiveness of its own regulations, and found that although they have helped, there could be room for improvement. It was suggested that this should come from more effective enforcement and while you will appreciate I cannot comment on individual cases that have been subject to legal proceedings, I do think the fact that there has been a high-profile conviction is encouraging.
I have been assured that the Government will continue to pursue a more sustainable approach to the transport of livestock on long journeys. This includes calling on the EU Commission to update the rules on welfare during transport where there is sufficient scientific evidence to support a change.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.