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Update: 14 March 2022
Recent reports in the media alarmingly suggest that the government will de-prioritise animal welfare, claiming it is seen as “peripheral stuff” . This means that the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) and Animals Abroad bills are at risk of being dropped. If that happened, we’d lose proposed laws banning the dangerous and distressing export of live animals. While the world faces unprecedented challenges, promises to implement vital animal welfare legislation must be upheld and the government must fulfil its commitment to having and promoting the highest standards of animal welfare, as laid out in the 2021 Queen’s Speech.
If the reports are true and these bills are torn up, the government would be betraying the cows, pigs, and other animals it promised to protect as well as the public who elected it based on manifesto commitments such as banning hunting trophies and live export.
Giving the green light to organisations and individuals to continue to profit from cruelty to animals would make a mockery of the UK’s claim that we are a nation of animal lovers. The government must keep in mind a sentiment put forth by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, “The way we treat animals reflects our values and the kind of people we are.”
Please take action now by telling the government to support the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) and Animals Abroad bills in their entirety, banning the live export of animals.
Every year, thousands of animals are transported from Scotland to the EU and beyond for slaughter and fattening.
The Dangerous and Distressing Journey
Cows and sheep are transported hundreds or even thousands of miles only to be killed on arrival - or ‘fattened’ and then killed. These long-haul journeys cause extreme mental and physical distress as animals are crammed into lorries or shipping vessels with little room to move. Stood in their own waste, they may suffer from hunger, dehydration, injuries, and stress from the extremes of heat and cold.
The Government Is Dragging Its Feet
Scotland has sent thousands of un-weaned bull calves –babies torn from their mothers - to Spain and Italy to be fattened and slaughtered for beef and veal. The journey goes via Ireland and can take up to 23 hours. Often neither milk replacer nor rest is provided. A landmark decision in in September 2020 ruled this practice to be illegal as it did not adequately protect animals. Though the government has agreed to halt the live export of calves, legislation has not yet been changed to reflect this, leaving calves vulnerable to further abuse and suffering. And leaving sheep to continue to suffer on these arduous journeys.
In response to growing condemnation about Scotland’s complicity in the cruel live export trade, the government consulted on the issue at the end of 2020. Since then, the government has said that it will “work alongside the other administrations to seek to end the unnecessary export of livestock for slaughter or fattening to countries outside the UK.” And while this is welcome news, we have yet to see the Scottish government take meaningful action.
Change Is Needed Now
Animals cannot wait in anguish and terror for years for government to drag their feet. The Scottish government must ban live animal export, bringing legislation in line with the promised proposals for England and Wales.
Most animals raised for their flesh or fleece already endure miserable lives. The least the government can do is spare them the trauma of an arduous journey overseas, only to be killed in horrific ways at their destination. With the new government now in place, please urge policymakers to prioritise a ban on live export NOW. Please also take personal responsibility. This suffering of animals will only end once people stop eating and wearing animal-derived products.
Tell the Scottish Government to end live-animal exports!