3 March 2000

Live exporting under scrutiny

GOVERNMENT plans to use an EU review of livestock transport rules to press for an end to live exports for slaughter.

The EU Commission has begun a review of the animal transport directive which governs journey times and vehicle standards, and a draft report is expected to be released later this month (March).

In a written Commons reply, junior farm minister Elliot Morley repeated governments opposition to live exports. "The government believes that a carcass trade is preferable to long distance transport for slaughter," he said.

"We will continue to press for a carcass trade as part of that (the EU Commission) review and, most importantly when the Commission presents its formal report to the Council of Ministers."

Peter Stevenson, Compassion in World Farming political and legal director, said the animal welfare group would also do all it could to ensure the EU review resulted in an end to long distance live transport.

"We will put all our energy, not only into getting better enforcement, but into getting a radical change in policy whereby live transport is abandoned and replaced by a meat trade," he said.

The review comes three years after the EU transport rules came into effect. They introduced an eight hour journey time limit for livestock transported in standard lorries and a journey time limit of 24 hours for sheep and 29 hours for pigs in upgraded lorries.

At the very least Mr Stevenson said he hoped the commission review would result in better enforcement of vehicle standards, route plans and journey breaks across Europe.