PROPOSALS to ban the export of livestock for slaughter and fattening from Great Britain have moved closer to becoming law.

The Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill bans the export of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses, with Environment Secretary Steve Barclay saying it will put a “permanent end to this unnecessary trade”.

The Government’s previous attempt to impose a ban as part of wider animal welfare reforms was scrapped earlier this year, with the new Bill more tightly focused on exports.

It will prevent animals being sent to the continent for slaughter from England, but the UK Government plans to work with the administrations in Scotland and Wales to make this apply across Great Britain.

Actress Dame Joanna Lumley has been among those campaigners calling for action to ban live animal exports.

The Bill received an unopposed second reading and will undergo further scrutiny at a later date.

Mr Barclay told the Commons: “The Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill before us today will cement our position as a world leader on animal welfare.

“It will ban from Great Britain the exports of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses for slaughter and fattening, putting a permanent end to this unnecessary trade.

“I’m proud to say that we are a nation of animal lovers, we have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and we continue to strengthen them.

“The Bill still allows exports of livestock including horses for other purposes such as breeding, shows and competitions, provided they are transported in line with legal requirements aimed at protecting their welfare.”

He also said: “This Bill marks another significant milestone in our progress to delivering better animal welfare across the nation.”

For Labour, shadow environment minister Ruth Jones said: “The Tories have taken a very weak approach to animal welfare. From pulling Bills to caving to their backbenchers, there has been little commitment to following through on their promises and pledges.”

She added: “I look forward to seeing this Bill signed into law – the sooner the better.”

Former environment secretary Therese Coffey was among those on the Tory benches to welcome the changes, saying: “Animal welfare should not be quite the competition that others are trying to portray it to be.

“We are a nation of animal lovers, that’s why there will be strong support for this.”

Liberal Democrat former leader Tim Farron said: “We are disappointed with what’s not in this Bill, with what was dropped in the last session and why the measures that were in previous legislation promised by this Government have either now been dropped altogether or put through very unreliable routes of private members’ bills, and also disappointed by the length of time it has taken to get here.

“But let’s not avoid the fact that the ban on live exports of animals is a positive measure towards easing unnecessary suffering of animals.”