Animal welfare during transport
The transport of animals to and from markets, to slaughter, and, particularly, on export journeys, is legitimately a matter of widespread public concern. The Government recognises this concern and affords a high priority to ensuring that the welfare of animals is protected during transport. We achieve this through regulations and enforcement, as well as through supervision and guidance.
The Government is often urged to ban the exports of live animals for slaughter or further fattening. We would strongly prefer to see meat exported rather than live animals, since animals would not be subjected to long periods in transit. But the clear legal position, confirmed by two judgements of the European Court, is that this is a legal trade and that restricting it or banning it could not be defended in law. Our policy is therefore to ensure scrupulous application of the EU rules on our territory, and, importantly, to encourage other member states to do the same.
If you have any reason for concern about the treatment of an animal during transport please bring it to the attention of the Local Authority (normally the Trading Standards Department) or Animal Health at your nearest Animal Health Divisional Office.
- Statistics for the live export of sheep and cattle for slaughter and further fattening
- Horse and pony export statistics
- Advice on transporting animals during hot weather.
- Animal Health have written to transporters advising on the transport of shorn sheep in cold weather (PDF 48 KB)
- Animal health and welfare publications can be found in the publications pages of the Defra website.
- Visit the Farm
Animal Welfare section of the EU website.
Page last modified: 27 August, 2008