UFU respond to consultation on banning live exports

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has submitted its response to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) consultation on ‘improvements to animal welfare in transport’, which is being conducted on behalf of the UK government.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 8:08 am
UFU Deputy President William Irvine on his County Armagh farm. Picture: Cliff Donaldson
UFU Deputy President William Irvine on his County Armagh farm. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

One of the proposals that has been put forward is the banning of live exports for slaughter.

UFU deputy president William Irvine, pictured, said: “Live exports are an integral part of the Northern Ireland (NI) livestock sector and to ban the transportation of live exports for slaughter would be unnecessary and could threaten the sector’s stability.

“We have continuously reiterated our concerns regarding any possible changes to the UK’s animal transportation policy and to date, the UK government has failed to take these on board.

“NI is a region that excels in delivering high animal welfare standards.

“Our policy is driven by sound science and this is no different in the area of exports.

“The livestock industry works to some of the highest standards in the world which our farmers are proud to uphold, and we see no reason to introduce additional controls or to suddenly ban the live export of farmed animals.”

The consultation was initially focused on live exports for slaughter, but it now probes journey times, thermal conditions and ventilation, the majority of which will be examined without proper scientific data, the UFU say.

“Several of the transport questions were worrying due to the lack of scientific information in these areas.

“However, after completing the consultation and providing significant detail to express our views on what has been proposed, we hope the UK government will consider our response and those from the entire industry appropriately.

“To do otherwise would put our livestock industry at risk,” said Mr Irvine.