The government’s “animal welfare action plan” – including a proposal to ban exports of live animals for slaughter and worrying new livestock legislation – was presented to parliament this week.
The plans fall under the new Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill which had its first reading on Tuesday, June 8. If the bill is successful, the UK will become the first European country to end the practice of exporting live animals for slaughter. The new legislation will also give new powers to the police to better protect livestock, including horses, against dangerous and uncontrollable dogs.
Improving well-being during the transport of equines intended for slaughter is the founding issue of World Horse Welfare and the association welcomes the government’s plans.
“Where equines need to be slaughtered, we believe this should happen as close to their point of origin as possible,” said Roly Owers, Managing Director of World Horse Welfare.
“By their very nature, equines transported to slaughter may be more susceptible to health and welfare risks on long journeys. For this reason, the ban on slaughter movements outside of Britain is great news. ”
But Mr Owers added that “in reality” nothing will change until a fully digital equine identification and horse movement traceability system is in place.
“There has been no declaration of export of equines for slaughter from Britain for many years, but horses and ponies are exported for various reasons and there is no way to guarantee a horse declared to be exported for other purposes will not fit. directly for meat, ”he said.
“Until there is full traceability inside and outside the UK, it is not possible to know where exported horses end up.”
A spokesperson for the association added that many equines transported under the radar are also not declared as commercial movements.
“This means that some carriers do not respect welfare during transport legislation, which only applies to commercial carriers, and equines are transported long distances in often cramped conditions,” said the spokesperson.
“An efficient and reliable equine identification and traceability system is essential to help combat the gray area of falsely identified as non-slaughter or non-commercial carriers slipping under the radar at border crossings. Appropriate controls and the resources available to undertake them are also necessary to enable the new legislation to apply.
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“This reform is long overdue – for many years the most violent and horrific abuse and cruelty received maximum
Credit: Eleanor Jones
Credit: Ti Media
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The spokesperson said the charity also welcomes plans relating to worrying livestock of animals in England and Wales.
“Attacks on horses by uncontrollable dogs are a worrying problem for owners and riders, and the new legislation will give additional powers to the police, allowing them to identify owners and their animals and to take action.” The legislation includes more than what is traditionally considered agricultural land, so it covers horses grazing in various situations, such as on allotments, or on roads and paths, which is a positive development for equines and their animals. riders when they are hacking, ”he said. mentionned.
“The bill will now require further readings in parliament before being enacted. Further bills based on the government’s animal welfare action plan are expected in the coming months.
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