AN animal charity has responded to the Animal Welfare (Live Exports) Bill passing through the House of Commons. 

The RSPCA has said they are looking forward to the Bill making 'swift progress' in the House of Lords. 

David Bowles, head of the public affairs at the charity, said: "The RSPCA, other organisations and the public, have campaigned to see live exports banned for more than 50 years so to see this becoming a reality now is an incredible step forward for animal welfare.

“We agree with the UK Government that this Bill should be fast-tracked through Parliament as finally bringing in a ban on this cruel and barbaric practice is a huge step forward for animal welfare. As much as we would love to see more species of animals added to ‘future-proof’ the law, right now it is critical nothing slows progress, in case Parliament runs out of time ahead of a general election."

David goes on to explain how only sheep, calves and horses have been exported from Britain for slaughter in the last 10 years - and these species are already covered by the Bill. But if more animals were added, such as reindeer and llamas, he was concerned this would delay the ban. However, the bill has now passed through the Commons. 

“Although no animals are currently being exported for slaughter from Britain, we need to act quickly to get this ban in place as currently the trade could restart at any moment," he added.

"It would be heartbreaking if British animals joined the 1.6 million cattle, sheep, pigs and horses already transported across Europe every year on gruelling journeys that can last tens of hours, exhausting the animals and causing suffering and even death. 

“We and our passionate supporters will be keeping a close eye on this Bill to ensure it comes into force quickly - as promised in the King's Speech - and will also look to assess if further animals need to be added to the law to protect them from live export in the future.”