DEFRA – Consultation on improvements to animal welfare in transport – Have you had your say?
10 February 2021
The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) started a consultation on the 03 December 2020 for eight weeks, the deadline to respond to this has been extended until the 25 February 2021.
The UK’s current rules aimed at protecting animal welfare in transport are derived from directly applicable EU law. There are concerns that the current requirements for the transport of animals are not in line with the latest scientific evidence on how best to protect animal welfare during transport. Now the UK has left the EU, these regulations are under review.
The Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) have reported to DEFRA on the scientific evidence they had obtained and provide recommendations on improving the welfare of animals during transport. DEFRA have reviewed this report and are now seeking views through this consultation.
The recommendations are detailed but the main points are summarised below:
- Live animal exports: To end the export of livestock and horses (except for breeding and poultry) from England and Wales for slaughter and fattening travelling from or through England and Wales. Live export journeys for slaughter and fattening will not be allowed to depart from England or Wales for a destination outside the UK or transit through England or Wales on their way to a destination outside the UK. Therefore, live export journeys for slaughter and fattening beginning in Scotland, Northern Ireland or EU Member States such as the Republic of Ireland, that are destined for outside the UK, cannot transit through England or Wales. This proposal will not impact on necessary domestic livestock and horse movements between England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
- Maximum journey times: New maximum journey time of between 4 – 21 hours to be implemented dependant on species. The journey time to include loading, unloading time spent at a location (such as a market or agricultural show) and the journey to the final destination (including if that destination was the original departing destination).
- Rest period: Upon the proposed maximum limit being reached, a minimum rest period of 48 hours would need to be observed at an approved control post. (Currently this is a 24-hour requirement.) After this minimum 48-hour rest period, the journey could commence again as a new journey. For cattle, they are specifically proposing a minimum 7-day rest period, to account for cattle’s metabolic pathway recovery time.
- Temperature conditions and ventilation: The proposals are looking to forbid any transport of livestock or horses if the forecast external temperature for the journey is outside of a temperature range of 5°C and 30°degrees, unless the vehicle is able to regulate the internal temperature within that temperature range for the duration of the journey by means of a thermo-regulation system. This will apply to both short and long journeys.
- Headroom Allowances: The consultations are proposing minimum headroom allowance depending on species: dairy cattle 20cm; beef cattle 30cm; sheep 22cm; pigs 9cm; and all others 20cm.
- Sea transport: The consultation recommends that no animals should be transported by sea during Beaufort Wind Force of 6 or above. In the event of poor sea conditions, contingency plans and the provision of venues to accommodate animals should be arranged by the owner or transporter.
- Short and long journeys: The proposals are looking to be implemented on both short journeys (over 65km and/or up to eight hours in duration) and long journeys (defined as any journey which exceeds eight hours in duration). Journeys of less than 65km are exempt from the proposals.
- Exceptions: The proposals look at no exceptions to ending live animal exports for slaughter and fattening.
The consultation is an opportunity to have your voice as to what the impact will be on you and your business. Use this as an opportunity to provide suggestions as to what exceptions might be considered.
Have your say: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/transforming-farm-animal-health-and-welfare-team/improvements-to-animal-welfare-in-transport/
Contact our regulatory team on 01254 828300 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.