Amendment 1

Part of Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill - Report – in the House of Lords am 4:00 pm ar 8 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Douglas-Miller Lord Douglas-Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 4:00, 8 Mai 2024

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord de Clifford, and to all other noble Lords who have spoken so eloquently and passionately on these efforts to ensure that this Bill brings to an end excessively long journeys for all species likely to be exported for slaughter and fattening. I reassure noble Lords that the Government are fully in agreement on that point. We wish to put a permanent end to this unnecessary trade for all animals, and I believe that the definition of “relevant livestock” in the Bill will achieve that aim.

I shall begin by summarising the process of evidence gathering and consultation that led to the drafting of the list of species included in the Bill. In 2018, the Government launched a call for evidence on live exports for slaughter and on animal welfare in transport, alongside a systematic review conducted by Scotland’s Rural College and the University of Edinburgh. The UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments then commissioned a report from the Farm Animal Welfare Committee, which drew on this evidence, as well as a range of expert opinion from stakeholder engagement. Building on these findings, in 2020 we consulted widely on the ban on live exports for livestock and horses and received over 11,000 responses. During the consultation, we received no evidence that a ban on any other species was necessary. We have also received no such evidence since.

In the 10 years prior to EU exit, the live export trade for slaughter and fattening mainly involved sheep and unweaned calves. There have also been exports of pigs and goats for fattening, although these have been at significantly lower levels. While there have been no recorded exports of horses for slaughter, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that the trade does exist. The definition of “relevant livestock” therefore already covers the species required for the Bill to bring an end to the unnecessary live export trade for slaughter and fattening. We also discussed this amendment in the context of alpacas, llamas and deer. In the UK, there are extremely low numbers of these animals compared with the numbers of farmed animals already covered by the Bill. More importantly, we have no evidence of any of these species being exported for slaughter or fattening from Great Britain to the EU, or that there is any demand for a trade in live exports of these species from the EU or elsewhere.

I understand noble Lords’ desire to ensure that the ban will apply to all relevant animals, at present as well as in the future. When considering the data we have on the slaughter export trade, I continue to hold the view that the definition of “relevant livestock” in the Bill is comprehensive and the proposed power to extend it is not required. The Government wish to see the unnecessary slaughter and fattening trade brought to a conclusive end at the earliest opportunity. I am sure this desire is shared by those here today and all those who support the Bill outside Parliament. Today, we have the chance to act swiftly and decisively to bring the end of this trade one step closer, and I therefore respectfully ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.