UK issues new rules on maximum travel times when transporting farm animals


Stricter welfare standards for farm animals being transported, including shorter journey times, greater headroom and stricter rules on movement in extreme temperatures, will be introduced by the UK government as part of the new animal welfare measures announced on August 18.

These new rules, which are being developed in partnership with the agricultural industry, will apply to animals transported to England and Wales, along with the introduction of a ban on exports of live animals for slaughter and fattening, which is currently under consideration in Parliament as part of the Animal welfare bill (kept animals).

The UK is strengthening its position as a world leader in this area through a series of reforms aimed at improving standards, as outlined in the Animal welfare action plan.

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The new proposals will increase farm animal welfare standards by:

  • Introduce shorter maximum travel times for live animals – between four and 24 hours depending on animal species
  • Give more free space to animals during transport
  • Stricter rules on transporting animals in extremely hot or cold temperatures

The government has listened to the industry’s early comments and will now work with the agricultural sector and welfare groups to develop these proposals and prepare for the transition to higher standards to build on the results of well- be bred already supplied on farms in England and Wales. .

These new conditions would apply to all journeys over 65 km. Independent evidence has shown that very long journeys can cause heat stress, dehydration and physical injury in transported animals such as horses, pigs, sheep, poultry and cattle. Over a billion animals are raised in the UK each year, many of which are transported within the country for slaughter, fattening and breeding.

Announcing the new standards, Environment Secretary George Eustice said:

“We are legislating to ban the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening, and are currently developing other measures to improve animal welfare during transport.

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

RSPCA CEO Chris Sherwood said:

“We are absolutely delighted that the export of live animals is finally coming to an end after campaigning on this issue for over 50 years.

“It is a victory for each person who signed a petition, demonstrated on the docks, wrote to his deputies and leaders and especially for the animals.

“We also welcome the stricter controls on the transport of live animals into Britain, as this is a time when they can suffer stress and injury and their well-being must be protected.”

In addition, the consultation highlighted a number of other measures that could help improve animal welfare during transport, including better training of animal transporters and new guidance on the ability to operate. an animal to travel. Work will be undertaken on all of these areas to develop more detailed proposals and a new method for calculating the space allocated to farm animals during transport.

The announcement follows a twelve-week consultation launched in December, which sought advice from industry and the public on proposals to improve animal welfare in transport.

Read the government’s response to the consultation on GOV.UK.

Response from UK farmers

Responding to the results of the government consultation on new transportation welfare measures, National Farmers Union (NFU) Vice President Stuart Roberts said: “Animal welfare is always a top priority. for any livestock or poultry farmer and we maintain that new rules or policies should be based on solid evidence and the latest scientific advances.

“We are pleased to see that in some areas Defra has taken into account the evidence we presented and made changes to its proposals.

“However, we are disappointed that other elements are not more focused on well-being, using driver training and experience. For example, we are frustrated that our proposed export insurance program d live animals had been ignored, which would have ensured that UK transport and processing rules would follow animals to other countries.

“We believe that basing a transport ban solely on its purpose, in this case for slaughter, does not make sense given that farmers and transporters have an inherent interest in ensuring that all trips significantly protect the environment. well-being at all stages and types of movement.

“We are delighted to see that Defra is committed to working collaboratively with industry in this area and we are ready to support the development of new policies to improve well-being in transportation. “

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