UK to ban live export of animals - first in Europe

In a Brexit benefit and a first for any European nation, the UK is to ban the live export of animals.

Environment Minister George Eustice is to announce a consultation process that will lead to a ban of live animal exports from the UK.

According to government figures, some 6,400 live animals are exported annually, however, the government also wants the UK to become a global leader, setting news standards in terms of animal welfare.

This step has been made possible by Brexit. Imposing such a ban, which is out of step with members States of the European Union, would have been significantly more problematic had the UK still been a member of the block, which works largely on the principle of consensus and mutual agreement on standards.

George Eustice said:

“Now that we have left the EU, we have an opportunity to end this unnecessary practice. We want to ensure that animals are spared stress prior to slaughter.”

Whilst this step will surely be welcomed by animal welfare groups and campaigners, they will undoubtedly argue that more still needs to be done. For example, the ban does not cover the live export of poultry. Furthermore, campaigners would like to see abuse of domestic and wild animals carry the same punishment under law as the abuse of human beings.

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