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Animal Welfare: Horses

Volume 470: debated on Wednesday 23 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what measures the Government are taking to ban the long-distance transportation of live horses and ponies for slaughter in Europe; and if he will make a statement; (180969)

(2) if the Government will make representations to ensure the enforcement of Council Regulation No. 1/2005, on the protection of animals during transport, in all Member States; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 22 January 2008]: A ban on the export of horses and ponies for slaughter would be illegal under EU free trade rules. It has long been Government policy that we prefer the export of meat rather than live animal exports for slaughter. New animal welfare measures came into effect in January 2007 with the implementation of EC Regulation 1/2005 on the welfare of animals during transportation. The provisions include important horse welfare measures that the UK put forward and which were supported by horse welfare organisations.

We are pleased to learn that it now seems likely the Commission will bring forward the planned review of the Regulation to 2009 instead of 2011 as originally intended. The Review will consider a number of issues arising from the implementation of the Regulation, including the need for robust enforcement of the animal welfare provisions in all member states.