Tougher welfare checks brought in to ensure that no animal is made to suffer during transport to the continent are not being carried out in line with Government commitments, the RSPCA has claimed.
The Government is failing to deliver on its commitment to animal health as regards the export of live farm animals, the RSPCA has claimed.
The charity claims that tougher welfare checks required to export live animals, brought in nine months ago by animal welfare minister David Heath, are apparently not being carried out in line with Government commitments.
Mr Heath said every consignment would be checked at loading and a proportion again at the port of departure until the Government was entirely satisfied there was no risk to the welfare of animals. However, the RSPCA has discovered that some animals are not being checked at the point of loading and less than a half of lorries are checked at the port.
RSPCA deputy CEO John Grounds said: “It is completely unacceptable that animals are not being checked at loading despite a ministerial promise to do so and Animal Health continue to only check around one in three lorries at the port. This trade involves living creatures, not tins of beans.”
According to Government information, seven non-compliance notices have been issued in the past year, and in September one lorry was prevented from continuing its journey at the port as it has not been checked at the point of loading.
Mr Grounds added: “It is extremely concerning that our Government cannot provide clear and transparent information about its checks on these animals. If UK and EU legislation continues to be flouted by the exporters, we would expect our Government to step up its inspections and ensure the animals are protected by the laws in place to do so.”
“If the Government doesn’t have the resources to ensure full monitoring at loading and again at the port, we are offering the support of RSPCA inspectors. I hope they will accept our offer of assistance in ensuring the welfare of animals.”
Despite this offer of help, the RSPCA continues to campaign for to end to all live transport. Instead, it believes all meat should be transported “on the hook”.