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MP calls for export ban in heatwave

AN MP who regularly speaks out on animal welfare issues has called on DEFRA to suspend live exports of animals during the recent hot weather.

North Thanet MP, Roger Gale, President of the Conservative Animal Welfare Group (CAWG) called the private office of DEFRA Minister, Ben Bradshaw last Thursday to seek reassurances in relation to the transport of live animals during the present, very hot weather.

Mr Gale said: ‘I have asked the Minister to seek reassurance from his Animal Welfare Department and the Veterinary Services that the undertakings given in relation to the certification of animals for transport to European destinations is being adhered to.’

CAWG say that although most shipments actually take place at night, they are also aware that not only are the nights themselves at present very hot but that in order to meet the sailing deadlines it is inevitable that animals are being transported to the ports through the heat of the day.

Given the ambient temperatures known to exist inside animal transport vehicles, many of which do not have any form of air conditioning, there has to be a very real concern for the welfare of animals being transported over very long distances throughout the European Union.

Mr Gale added: ‘While we would naturally prefer to see all meat transported on the hook rather than on the hoof – as a long-term objective – we believe that in the short term there is every justification for the Minister to suspend shipments until the weather changes – both here and across Europe.

‘The Minister’s office has assured me that they will look into the matters that we have raised and I hope that swift and appropriate action will be taken as a result.’

A DEFRA spokesman confirmed that the matter was being ‘treated seriously’ and that if new measures were needed, then they would be considered.