London (May 30, 2023) - Around 60 activists from Animal Justice Project  are expected to gather this Friday at Victoria Embankment, near Big Ben, before walking to Downing Street to demand that Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, reinstates the Kept Animals Bill  which would finally see an end to the live shipment of farmed animals from the UK to Europe and beyond.
The ‘snap protest’ follows a major Government U-turn last Thursday when the Environment, Food And Rural Affairs Minister, Mark Spencer, announced the dropping of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill , citing a lack of parliamentary time.
The Bill – which included a ban on primates as pets, a crackdown on puppy smuggling and greater protection for sheep from dangerous dogs – was in the Conservatives’ election manifesto back in 2019 [4, 5].
Claire Palmer, Director of Animal Justice Project, says “The decision to abandon the Kept Animals Bill is an astonishing betrayal of both animals and public trust. For fifty years the British public have been vocal in wanting a ban on live exports and last week, following months of stalling in the Commons, this was smashed thanks to this government’s apparent inability to do the right thing”.
The live exports ban, however, would have omitted animals sent abroad for breeding purposes, and also the export of day-old chicks and other birds. Banning only animals sent for fattening and slaughter.
This is despite that in 2019, the National Farmers Union (NFU) estimated  that out of the 31,000 cattle, sheep and goats exported from the UK to the EU, only around 5% would have been exported for slaughter, with the rest going for breeding. In 2020, figures from the National Pig Association also state that a staggering 12,000 pigs were exported that year for breeding to the EU .
Palmer says “our Lives not Stock campaign has focused on the fact that the Bill didn’t go far enough – we want a ban for all species, and all purposes. However to drop the ban entirely is unforgiveable and as a result, millions of animals will continue to face arduous journeys, bleak conditions, and even death during long journeys overseas. Transport,” she says “is one of the most distressing times during an animal’s life. From being loaded with unfamiliar animals, to how loud and scary the actual journey can be, transport can cause animals a lot of suffering and trauma.”
Protests against live exports have been held in Dover since 1989 and last year more than 107,000 people signed a parliamentary petition  demanding the Government “urgently” finds the time necessary to bring the long-awaited bill into law.
The Government has been accused of dropping the Bill over concerns it could act as a vehicle for uncomfortable debates that they do not want to be held on polarising issues such as hunting with dogs .
- END -
NOTES TO EDITORS: