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Cattle: Exports

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent meetings he has held with (a) animal welfare organisations and (b) the agricultural industry on the export of live young calves. (138782)

So far this year, I have met representatives of both Compassion in World Farming and Kent Action Against Live Exports. My officials continue to communicate with welfare and industry bodies through meetings, correspondence and telephone calls on a regular basis.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the conditions experienced by live young calves which are exported; and if he will make a statement. (138785)

The following table shows the research recently commissioned by DEFRA on the conditions experienced by live calves (and other animals) during transport.

Research

Timescale

Long distance road transport of farm animals

1 April 1997 to 1 March 2002

Study to investigate the space above the head and shoulders of pigs and cattle when standing during transport

1 May to 1 October 2003

To understand and alleviate physiological stress during transportation of livestock (this project is specific to calves)

1 April 1997 to 1 March 2002

Development of telemetry systems for the remote monitoring of physiological signals in livestock

1 October 1999 to 1 September 2002

Road transport of farm animals in hot climates

1 April 2003 to 31 March 2005

Human factors affecting the welfare of animals during transport

1 April 2002 to 31 August 2005

Effect of driver behaviour on the behaviour of cattle and pigs in transit

1 April 2005 to 30 May 2007

Animal welfare in livestock trailers and optimisation of ventilation

1 May 2004 to 30 September 2007

DEFRA continually reviews and appraises its research programme. Evaluation takes place before, during and at the end of each research project. In addition, a review of research and development programmes is undertaken every five years with interested parties, including welfare groups, industry and consumer groups. A review of the Animal Welfare at Transport and Markets programme was held at the end of 2006. The output from this review will be made available on the DEFRA website soon. Our research findings help to provide a sound scientific basis on which to formulate our policy on the transport of live animals.