Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill

Written e vidence submitted by Animal Aid ( AWB06)

Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill

Whilst there are some good provisions within the Bill, there are also a number of omissions which, Animal Aid believe should be amended in order to ensure more robust protection for animals. These are namely the

· Exclusion of animals exported for breeding purposes

· The exclusions of non-mammals

1 Section 42, the ‘Prohibition of export of livestock for slaughter etc’ covers animals being exported for slaughter and those being exported to be fattened for slaughter. However, it does not include animals being exported for breeding.   This omission potentially still leaves millions of animals open to the same stresses, dangers and poor welfare standards, which an export ban (for those animals destined for fattening and slaughter) seeks to avoid.

2 Animals cannot be exported for slaughter or for fattening for slaughter, but if exported for breeding, that animal could, after a very short period of time , then be slaughtered overseas. The animal could, for example, have one litter in France and then be exported to Africa to be killed.

3 It is unacceptable to export animals for any reason – the end of live export must be comprehensive and cover all animals, which brings me to the second omission.

Section 42 (7) states: "relevant livestock" means-

1.      ( a)  bulls, cows, heifers, calves, buffalo or bison,

2.      ( b)  horses, ponies, donkeys, asses, hinnies, mules or zebras,

3.      ( c)  sheep,

4.      ( d)  goats, or

5.      ( e)  pigs or wild boar.

4 As you’ll notice, this excludes any non-mammals, such as birds, reptiles,  fish  and invertebrates, all of whom have a huge capacity to suffer during exportation. 

Live exports

5 The government proudly announced that they ‘will legislate to end the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter’. Whilst this is a move in the right direction, this still leaves millions of animals – those exported for breeding – open to the same stresses, dangers and poor welfare standards, which an export ban (for those animals destined for fattening and slaughter) seeks to avoid. It is unacceptable to export animals for any reason – the end of live export must be comprehensive and cover all animals.

6 Live exports puts animals in danger, at increased risk of human maltreatment and is detrimental to their positive health and welfare.

7 The live export of farmed animals causes stress, injury, dehydration, stress-linked disease such as salmonellosis in sheep and respiratory disease in cattle. The live export of high numbers of sick or diseased animals is a particular concern, both for the welfare of the animals concerned and the spreading of disease. There is greater propensity for disease transmission with live animals.

Exemption for poultry

8 We strongly disagree with the exemption of poultry from the live export ban as they are just as capable of suffering poor health and welfare caused by long-distance transportation, as other animals. Young chicks are negatively impacted by fluctuating environmental conditions. Pullets and end-of-lay hens have poor feather coverage leaving them susceptible to temperature fluctuations.

9 ‘Broiler’ chickens, end-of-lay hens and other poultry do not have their natural needs met or their welfare protected on such journeys. There were over 13 million live exports of poultry for fattening / production in 2016 (13,291,141 – FAWC 2019 pp.21-22) This is nearly 10 million more than were exported for breeding. REF

10 There are many categories of poultry to be considered, including: ‘broiler’ chickens, day-old chicks from hatcheries, pullets (hens less than one year old), laying / end of lay hens, turkeys and game birds. End of lay hens tend to have higher mortality rates than other poultry in transit, and these mortality rates are higher in journeys over 50km ( Verkova.L . et al (2019) 

Exemption for breeding

11 We strongly object to any exemption got breeding animals. According to data for 2018, 19% of live pigs and 14% of live cattle were exported for breeding purposes. The proportion is lower for sheep, but this still amounted to 6,616 live sheep in 2018. 

12 This amounts to a significant proportion of the total live exports for these animals. The government has accepted the welfare arguments for banning live export of these animals when related to slaughter or fattening, and we cannot see any justification for denying these welfare protections to other animals simply because they are intended to be used for breeding. 

13 Animal Aid feels that animals should not be exported to be incarcerated in systems that would be illegal in the UK, which, by their design, lead to immense animal suffering, such as sow stalls.   

14 The trade in breeding animals, including poultry, should be replaced with one in genetic material or fertilised eggs. 

15 On a practical level, we are also concerned that documentation may be provided to demonstrate breeding purposes, whereas the animals are in reality intended for onward travel for fattening or slaughter. As a minimum, robust, far-reaching sanctions need to be put in place to guard against falsifications, including permanent disqualification from future exports.  

However, the best, most humane and effective solution would be to extend the live export ban to breeding animals.

For further information, please contact Jessamy Korotoga, Head of Campaigns at Animal Aid – jessamy@animalaid.co.uk

November 2021

 

Prepared 17th November 2021