20 August 1998
Government to review animal welfare rules
By Allan Wright
THE Government is to review the rules governing livestock transport and animal welfare at livestock markets. MAFF officials have already met representatives from 16 industry organisations in London for preliminary discussions.
After the meeting, John Thorley, secretary of the National Sheep Association, said it was clear that animal welfare was a top Government priority.
Mr Thorley said that the Farmers Ferry operation, which aims to export live lambs from Britain to France, was expected to come under scrutiny during the review.
“When a dealers ferry becomes a farmers ferry, it behoves the industry to be extremely careful about entering a trade in livestock that has attracted the attention of welfarists in the past,” he said.
John Martin, secretary of the Livestock Auctioneers Association, said the meeting with MAFF officials was a first step towards a consultation paper which will be issued by Government at the end of September.
The Welfare of Animals in Markets Order of 1990 was to be reviewed at the same time, Mr Martin said. New legislation is expected early in 1999.
“We feel the present regulations are operating successfully and we would be concerned about any changes which add costs to the auction system. Any changes must be practical,” he said.
Junior farm minister Elliot Morley said last July, when the EU transport laws were introduced in this country, that he intended to revisit the issue after a year to assess how the regulations were working in practice.