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Welsh Government urged to work with UK Government following King’s Speech confirmation of live export ban

08 Nov 2023 3 minute read
Live Animal Exports. Photograph by Andrew Forsyth/RSPCA

The Welsh Government has been urged to work with the UK Government to ensure plans announced in the King’s Speech for a ban on the live export of animals extend to Wales.

Plans for a ban on the export of live animals for further fattening and slaughter – via an Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill – were announced as part of yesterday’s King’s Speech.

With animal welfare being a devolved competency, the RSPCA is urging Welsh Ministers to work closely with their UK Government counterparts to ensure the ban applies in Wales.


The RSPCA has campaigned to outlaw live exports for more than 50 years. Roughly 1.6 million farm animals – cattle, sheep, pigs and horses – are transported huge distances across Europe annually on gruelling journeys that can last tens of hours, exhausting the animals and causing suffering and even death.

The last export to leave the UK was on 31 December 2020, but there is currently no law in place . Previous plans to ban the live export of animals were included in the UK Government’s Kept Animals Bill

At that time, the Welsh Government proposed a legislative consent memorandum, which, if passed by Senedd Members, would have paved the way for elements of the Kept Animals Bill – including the ban on live exports – to apply to Wales too.

The RSPCA is urging the Welsh Government to bring forward a legislative consent motion that would allow the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill to apply to Wales.

RSPCA Cymru’s senior public affairs manager Billie-Jade Thomas said: “It’s great news for animal welfare that a ban on live exports was included in the King’s Speech.

“The suffering these animals have to endure is unnecessary and needs to be stopped, prevented and – crucially – outlawed.

“But despite the strength of public feeling, the UK Government has been dragging its feet on bringing in a ban – so today is potentially a really historic day for animals.”

MS Thomas added: “However, we need to make sure this ban applies to Wales too.

“We were all disappointed when the UK Government dropped the Kept Animals Bill – but we now urge Welsh Ministers to liaise with the UK Government and bring forward a new legislative consent motion so the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill applies here too.”


However, The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has responded with concern to the announcement.

FUW President Ian Rickman said: “Introducing a legislative ban on live exports has the potential of creating an oversupply in UK markets, resulting in lower demand and therefore prices farmers receive for their stock.

“Defra previously estimated that such a ban would cost the industry £6.6 million per annum, yet this was merely based upon an assumed 15% price differential without taking into account the loss of markets or the likelihood of such costs disproportionately falling on small and micro enterprises.”

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G Horton-Jones.
G Horton-Jones.
6 months ago

If it illegal to take livestock 25 miles from England to France why should Welsh livestock have to be subjected to much greater journeys to England

All Welsh animals should enjoy the right to live in Wales and not be forcibly transported across the border to a foreign country

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