Government to launch new animal welfare standards following EU departure

Government to launch new animal welfare standards following EU departure

New legislation will protect the welfare of farm animals being transported across England and Wales, the Government has announced.

EU directives had previously prevented any changes to animal welfare rules, but now that the UK has left the single market, the UK Government is free to improve standards and regulations.

Here’s what we know about the reforms so far.

What is changing?

According to the consultation document, farm animals will benefit from improved welfare standards compared to those currently afforded under the EU regime.

This includes shorter journey times, more headroom, and “stricter rules” on being moved in extreme temperatures.

Here’s a summary of the proposals:

  • Introducing shorter maximum journey times for live animals – between four and 24 hours depending on the species of animal
  • Giving animals more headroom during transport
  • Stricter rules on the transport of animals during extreme hot or cold temperatures
  • Better training for animal transporters
  • New guidance on an animal’s fitness to travel.

The Government says the new rules – which have been developed in partnership with the farming industry – come in addition to the proposed ban on live animal exports for slaughter and fattening, currently going through Parliament as part of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill.

When will the new rules apply?

The new legislation will apply to any animal being transported within England and Wales for journeys over 65 km. This is also likely to include animals being transported abroad via England or Wales or animals exported into England and Wales from overseas.

“Opportunity to change legislation and make substantial improvements to animal welfare in transport”

Commenting on the new standards, Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “We are legislating to ban the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening, and are now developing other measures to improve the welfare of animals during transport.

“We have listened to the concerns raised relating to our proposed changes to transport regulations and have made changes to address these. We will continue to work with industry on the remaining details.”

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