Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Animals Are Not Freight - we can change the law!

In August this year Compassion In World Farming led the first global day of action against live exports.  It commemorated the 20th anniversary of the world's worst live export disaster and people all around the world sent a clear message to their governments: Animals are not Freight. (I wrote a blog post here.) The message was loud and clear that we will not tolerate this cruel and unnecessary trade any longer. I received an email from CIWF yesterday with the excellent news that our voices were actually heard!

A bill has been proposed in Parliament that would allow local authorities to refuse to accept live exports through British ports of animals for slaughter. Currently they have no choice. I have written to my MP, Kevin Foster, asking him to support the bill. Please can you contact your MP too?

We now have the chance to amend the antiquated 19th-century Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act. Current interpretation of this law forces British public ports to allow lorries squashed full of frightened animals to pass through, even if they want to reject this trade. The new bill would allow local authority ports to say “No” to live exports for slaughter abroad.

However, in order for the amendment to become law, it needs MPs to vote it through. The 'Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847 (Amendment) Bill 2016-17' is expected to have its second reading on the 4th November. Please can you contact your MP before that date urging them to support this bill? You can write or email directly or, if you're not sure what to write, CIWF has a template email on this page of their website which you can send as is or personalise.

Please contact your MP now

1 comment:

  1. Received the following disappointing response from my MP, Kevin Foster, this morning. Basically he agrees that animals should be slaughtered locally, but then tries to claim that we can't do this in Britain because the EU wouldn't let us - which is rubbish!

    Dear Stephanie, Thank you for contacting me about live animal exports and the 1847 Ports and Harbours Act. I understand the strength of feeling about this issue and believe animals should be slaughtered locally wherever possible. Yet under European Union single market rules it is illegal for a member state to ban the export of animals to other EU countries. I am advised amending the 1847 Ports and Harbours Act could not effectively circumvent these. There are instead EU and UK laws designed to protect the welfare of live animals during transport. While the UK negotiates its exit from the European Union, it will remain a member and will continue to exercise the rights and be subject to the obligations that come with membership. The UK’s involvement in EU rules on animal welfare and trade will likely form part of exit negotiations, with future policy in this area considered by the UK Government in the context of these talks. I have been assured that the Government will continue to pursue a more sustainable approach to the transport of livestock on long journeys whilst we are still a member of the EU. It has already called on the EU Commission to update European rules on welfare during transport where there is sufficient scientific evidence to support a change.

    Finally, I run a weekly update service via e-mail to keep residents up to date with the work I do in the Bay and at Westminster. Do let me know if you would like to receive it on a regular basis.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely,

    Kevin Foster MP Member of Parliament for Torbay, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA 0207 219 4711

    Twitter: @kevin_j_foster Facebook:

    Subject: Please support the Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847 (Amendment) Bill 2016-17

    Dear Kevin Foster MP,

    As your constituent I am writing to urge you to support the Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847 (Amendment) Bill 2016-17 which is expected to have its second reading on 4th November, and to ask the relevant ministers to ban live exports from the UK.

    I am deeply concerned about the fact that thousands of UK sheep are exported each year. The sheep may be subjected to very long journeys. Moreover, many will be slaughtered in France and investigations have revealed illegal and inhumane practices in slaughterhouses in that country.

    The long distance transport of animals results in suffering and poor welfare conditions, regardless of where those animals are going to, and local authorities should have the power to prohibit the transport of live animals for slaughter abroad in specific circumstances.

    The High Court has interpreted the Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act (1847) as meaning that ports must allow the free trade of ‘goods’ –including live animals. So British public ports and local authorities must allow lorries full of animals to pass through, even if they do not agree with the trade.

    I believe that this law must be urgently updated so that local authorities can legally refuse consignments of live animals.

    Thank you for your help with this matter. I look forward to your response.

    Yours sincerely,

    Stephanie Burton