The UK parliament passed a bill which will ban the livestock exports of animals for slaughter or fattening for slaughter.

Banning live export for fattening and slaughter has been a conservative 'manifesto commitment' since 2017, as Great Britain left the European Union.

The Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports Bill) reflects provisions on export in the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which the government opted not to progress in the 2022–23 session.

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The bill will apply to cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, wild boar, horses and certain other related animals. The bill would not prohibit animals travelling for other purposes, for example for breeding or competition.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) said: “This is a huge milestone for farmed animal welfare, after 100 years of campaigning, the UK government has finally banned live animal exports from Great Britain.”

The charity added that, along with Compassion in World Farming and Kent Action Against Live Exports (KAALE), a “milestone moment” can be celebrated

The passing of the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports Bill) means:

  • Ensuring animals are slaughtered domestically, in high welfare UK slaughterhouses;
  • Taking advantage of Brexit freedoms which mean the UK can ban live animal exports, which was prevented under EU rules;
  • New rules would still allow live animal exports in other circumstances, e.g, for breeding and competitions, provided they are transported in line with legal requirements aimed at protecting their welfare.

The bill would make it an offence to either attempt to or succeed in sending, transporting or organising the transport of relevant animals to be slaughtered from or through Great Britain.

However, the bill does not apply to Northern Ireland and the terms of the Northern Ireland protocol mean that live animals move freely between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The bill will now go through the royal assent before it enters the law.