Live Horse Exports
from the UK: Back from the Brink
some of you may know, the EU Commission recently proposed a new
set of regulations about the transport of animals in the EU
rules would have prevented Britain from maintaining the individual
national laws that prevent horses from being exported for meat.
However, at the crucial meting in April at which the Agriculture
of the EU countries were to adopt the new rules, there was no agreement
and so that means that the old rules remain in place.
It isn’t clear yet exactly what position the UK Government
took. They had been unhappy with various aspects of the new Regulations
but had broadly welcomed them and had indicated that they wouldn’t
support any special protection for British horses. In the days leading
up to the meeting they had shown a little more open-mindedness however
and after the talks collapsed issued a statement saying that they
could not support the proposals as they stood. They didn’t
mention horses at all in their statement.
Although British horses
have been “winners” in this instance,
the situation remains that other farmed animals in the EU still face
long journeys in appalling conditions. We welcome the collapse of
the talks in as much as we thought that the proposals on animal transport
were bad in general and there is a possibility that better regulations
may now result. On the other hand, such negotiations are tortuous
and animals will continue to be abused until a new deal is struck
and made law, which could take a long time. The presence of the new
EU accession countries like Poland – many of whom are struggling
to meet existing EU welfare standards – will also act as
a brake on progress so the situation remains serious. Undoubtedly,
British horses have benefited for the moment and it may well be
in the longer term other farmed animals will benefit but right
now, animals continue to suffer during export and transport.
the present, animals other than horses continue to be exported
from the UK and you can support the campaign to end this by writing
to your MP and the Government minister responsible – Ben
Bradshaw MP, Defra, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1A 0AA.