Live Animal Exports

In response to the campaign on live animal exports, David said:

"I understand that this is an issue which people feel strongly about and I believe that animals should be slaughtered locally wherever possible. However, under European Union single market rules, it is illegal to ban the export of animals to other EU countries. There are EU and UK laws in place 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 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 Government in the context of these talks.

The Government will continue to pursue a more sustainable approach to the transport of livestock on long journeys and has already called on the EU Commission to update the rules on welfare during transport where there is sufficient scientific evidence to support a change."

More information about the campaign can be found here.

Bees and Neonicotinoids

In response to the campaign on bees and neonicotinoids, David said:

"Bees and other pollinators play a vital role in the security of our food supply and the quality of our environment. I welcome the work the Government has done over the last few years to protect them, most recently through its National Pollinator Strategy.

While we remain in the EU the UK will continue to meet its obligations under EU law, including restrictions on neonicotinoids.

As part of the preparation for exiting the EU, Ministers are considering future arrangements for pesticides. Their highest priority will continue to be the protection of people and the environment and, taking the advice of the independent Expert Committee on Pesticides, they will base these decisions on a careful scientific assessment of the risks."

Game Bird Cruelty

In response to the campaign on the welfare of pheasants and partridges bred for shooting, David said:

"I appreciate your concerns on this issue. Both I and the Government are committed to the highest standards of animal welfare.
 
Under existing laws and regulations all animals, including farmed poultry, must be looked after in ways that meet their welfare needs. Guidance is maintained on the steps stock-keepers need to take to avoid risking prosecution.
 
This includes an explicit reference to the Farm Animal Welfare Council's 'five freedoms', which state that animals must be kept free from hunger and thirst, from discomfort, from pain, injury or disease, from fear or distress and to express normal behaviour. Regulations on housing vary depending on how the birds are being raised, but in all cases it must allow essential biological needs to be fulfilled.
 
Furthermore, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 gamebirds must not be caused any unnecessary suffering. Under this Act, a Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes was drawn up based on research carried out by the Farm Animal Welfare Council, advised by a working group that included animal welfare organisations such as the RSPCA. It can be found at www.gov.uk by searching on the term 'Gamebirds'.
 
These rules are enforced by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), which carries out routine welfare inspections and investigates complaints; prosecutions can be initiated where necessary."

More information about the campaign can be found here.