Posted: Tue 14th May 2024

RSPCA: “One of the biggest days for animal welfare in modern history” – Lords set to vote to ban live animal exports

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales


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In what the RSPCA has hailed as “one of the biggest days for animal welfare in modern history,” the House of Lords is set to cast the final vote on the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill today, Tuesday 14 May.

If passed, this legislation will ban the export of live animals from Britain for rearing or slaughter, ending decades of gruelling journeys for livestock.

The RSPCA, along with its supporters, has been campaigning for over 50 years to stop these long, arduous trips that animals endure.

Livestock transported for further fattening or slaughter often face crowded and dangerous conditions on trucks, leading to mental exhaustion, injury, hunger, dehydration, and stress.

According to UK Government data, since the 1960s, up to 40 million farm animals, including sheep, calves, and pigs, have been exported from Britain.

These journeys, some lasting over 100 hours, have involved animals being transported in cramped and poor conditions.

At its peak, one million animals were exported annually from ports such as Dover, Ramsgate, and Brightlingsea.

This afternoon’s vote by the House of Lords is expected to be the final step before the bill receives Royal Assent.

Once approved, it will outlaw the export of live animals from Great Britain for rearing or slaughter, marking a significant milestone in animal welfare.

Emma Slawinski, the RSPCA’s Director for Advocacy, has long campaigned against live exports.

Reflecting on her experiences, she said, “This vote marks one of the biggest days for animal welfare in modern history. Sadly, I’ve witnessed up close the reality of these exports and the impact they have on animals. I’ll forever be haunted by the smell that comes off an export truck, and the calls of the animals inside which can still be heard as the ship leaves the port.”

Ms Slawinski emphasized the relief this legislation will bring, stating, “After so many years campaigning, the mental exhaustion, injury, hunger, dehydration, and stress animals are at risk of on these cruel journeys will finally – once and for all – be consigned to the history books in this country.”

The RSPCA credits “people power” for driving the legislation forward, with the charity aiming to build a one-million strong movement for animal welfare in its 200th anniversary year. Over the years, numerous petitions have garnered countless signatures, and thousands have participated in protest marches and weekly demonstrations at UK ports.

Since 2014, more than 60,000 members of the public have supported an RSPCA campaign urging the UK Government to enact this legislation.

Emma Slawinski praised this collective effort, saying, “This campaign has been an incredible example of people power – and what we can all achieve together for animal welfare. The RSPCA turns 200 this year – and this news really is the best birthday present imaginable.”

The expected passage of the bill through the House of Lords will lead to Royal Assent, finalising the ban.

To commemorate this achievement, the RSPCA, alongside Compassion in World Farming and Kent Against Live Exports, plans to project a celebratory message onto the White Cliffs of Dover later this week.

 

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