On 3 December 2020 the government launched an eight week consultation: “Improvements to animal welfare in transport” seeking views on how to better protect animal welfare during transport.
Whilst the headline proposal is to ban live exports for livestock and horses for slaughter and further fattening, a range of other measures including reducing maximum journey times and restricting movements in cold and hot weather were also announced in the consultation.
The government stated in their manifesto a commitment to ban, with no exceptions, exports of livestock and horses for slaughter and for further fattening where the animals are slaughtered within six months of being exported.
As it stands the export of live poultry is not included in this proposed ban. This consultation is issued jointly by the UK and Welsh governments and would also apply to livestock transiting through England and Wales from Scotland, NI or other EU member states for slaughter or further fattening in the EU. The government’s proposals are based on the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) evidence review, which included recommendations to ‘improve’ the current regulations covering livestock transportation.
What are the main proposals affecting poultry?
- Journey times for transporting broiler chickens to slaughter are being proposed to be limited to four hours, including the loading and unloading of birds.
- Journey times for transporting recently hatched chicks are being proposed to be limited to 21 hours (extended to 24 hours with APHA permission).
- No journey will be allowed to take place for any poultry species if the forecasted external temperature for the journey is below 5°c or above 25°c, unless the vehicle can regulate the internal temperature within a 5°c to 25°c range for the duration of the journey by means of a thermo-regulation system (such as those in vehicles used to transport day-old chicks).
- Poultry is exempt from the proposed ban on live exports for slaughter (or further fattening for slaughter within six months of export).
Have your say
The consultation is open until the 28 January 2021 and is open for anyone to respond to. The NFU will be submitting a response but it is important for anyone who may be affected by these proposed changes to submit their own response to help manage any potential impacts across the food supply chain.
Members can contact TkZVUG91bHRyeUBuZnUub3JnLnVr if they have any queries about the consultation.
NFU national poultry board chair Thomas Wornham said: “As poultry farmers our main priority is the health and welfare of our birds and the poultry sector has invested heavily in improving bird welfare at all stages throughout the supply chain. We are concerned that the proposed regulatory changes to domestic journeys for poultry and the export of chicks could have enormous practical implications for both poultry meat and egg producers. Furthermore, we could see negative impacts on the resilience of the wider UK food supply chain if some of these proposed changes were introduced.”