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Animal Welfare: Slaughterhouses

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 20th July 2011.

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Photo of William Bain William Bain Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her Department's policy is on the export via UK ports of live animals for slaughter and fattening.

Photo of James Paice James Paice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government are committed to improving the welfare of animals. If animals are exported live, their transportation should be high quality and comply with welfare in transport rules.

The live export trade is a lawful trade. The Government cannot unilaterally ban the trade as it would contravene EU free trade rules. Nevertheless, we would prefer livestock to be slaughtered as close as practicable to their point of production; a trade in meat and meat products being preferable to the long distance transport of livestock to slaughter.

We will continue to ensure that the current rules on long journeys (e.g. rest periods, adequate access to water and feed) are properly enforced in this country.

We will be making our views clear in Brussels on the importance we attach to animal welfare. We will play a full part in updating of the European law on welfare in transport and will continue to work with welfare, industry and enforcement organisations to identify where improvements might be made.

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