I have been contacted by a number of constituents as part of an e-campaign to end the exportation of live animals from the UK for both slaughter and fattening.
I should say, first of all, that I share the concerns that have been raised with me by constituents. The conditions in which animals are being kept during transit for fattening and slaughter are deeply concerning. Many suffer from dehydration, exhaustion, pain and stress due to being kept in cramped, hot conditions for extended periods. My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I support the restriction of live animal exports for both slaughter and fattening.
Supply chains must be designed to encourage slaughter nearer to the place of rearing and wherever possible, for meat products to be exported, rather than live animals. Exporting meat products is much more humane and it reduces any chance of animals being transported to countries with weak or non-existent welfare-at-slaughter rules.
The UK government must do more to promote best practice and knowledge of welfare regulations amongst hauliers, improve reporting on compliance and offer more support to local councils as they hold primary responsibility for enforcing welfare rules. My party are also in favour of better food labelling for meat products to show country of origin and method of slaughter, as well as more rigorous policing of slaughterhouses in the UK, and we will continue with this call for better standards.
I wrote out to Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to put forward the concerns that had been raised with me and I include below a copy of the response I received.