UK moves to ban live exports of animals but EU ban ‘far off’, says MEP

As the UK prepares to ban the live export of animals, the debate over the practice is also gaining traction in the EU, although the bloc is unlikely to follow suit any time soon, according to MEP Tilly Metz.

The UK’s environment secretary, George Eustice, unveiled plans to ban the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening from England and Wales earlier this month, which would make them the first in Europe to end this practice.

This is something the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said was part of a renewed push to strengthen Britain’s position as a world leader on animal welfare.

However, live exports are set to continue in Northern Ireland which “will continue to follow EU legislation on animal welfare in transport for as long as the Northern Ireland protocol is in place”, according to DEFRA. Poultry exports will also be exempt from the new rules.

The Northern Ireland protocol was set out in the withdrawal agreement London signed with the EU before leaving the bloc at the end of 2019 and was designed to avoid the return of a hard border on the island of Ireland.

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