Transport Central to Scotland’s Livestock Industry

Union to tackle Defra and Scottish Government consultations

Given the vital role that transport plays in Scotland’s livestock industry, NFU Scotland is to direct significant time and resource into its response to recent Defra and Scottish Government consultations.

The Defra consultation relates to journeys in (or partly in) England and Wales.  The key elements are a proposed ban on the live export of stock for further finishing or slaughter and restrictions on journey length and conditions, including outside temperature during transport, headroom and stocking density.  The Scottish consultation looks at the Farm Animal Welfare Council report into animal transport and seeks views on how Scotland might implement the report’s recommendations.

Vice President Charlie Adam said: “The ability to transport livestock safely is central to the Scottish livestock industry and I have taken more calls on this single issue in the past few weeks than any other policy subject.  

“Regardless of whether journeys are made by land or sea, Scotland has an excellent record in ensuring all animal health and welfare requirements in transit are met.

“These consultations will re-examine fundamental transport requirements that have been in place since the EU Transport of Animals directive was agreed in 2005.  Those requirements around the likes of journey times, rest periods, stocking densities, vehicle standards, vehicle certification and driver competence have been well policed and adhered to in Scotland for more than 15 years to good effect.

“The importance of transport to livestock producers on Scotland’s islands and in more remote areas is paramount and members from those regions have been quickest to voice their concerns to NFUS on the proposals.

“In the next few weeks, we will engage with key industry stakeholders including the auction marts, abattoirs, QMS, ferry operators and Road Haulage Association on this issue.  Similarly, all key Union commodity committees – Livestock, Milk, Pigs and Poultry, Crofting, Highlands and Islands – will be asked directly for their views.  We have already had discussions with other UK farming Unions and Scotland Office.

“While NFU Scotland will direct considerable resources to ensuring we capture the views of our members when responding to these consultations, we also urge all farmers and crofters to find the time to respond directly.

“The fact that there are parallel consultations on the subject of animal transport taking place in Scotland and England & Wales presents an immediate post-Brexit test of the integrity of the UK market.  The Northern Ireland protocol and the subsequent agreements also adds another layer to the challenge with movement rules for livestock transport from Scotland to Ulster and vice versa.

“These all raise the prospect that those who regularly transport livestock at home or abroad will have to juggle with three sets of rules – Scottish, English & Welsh and European. Having regulations that are complementary rather than contradictory will be critical in safeguarding Scottish agriculture’s interests in the UK and EU markets.”  

Notes to Editors


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 176/20

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About The Author

Bob Carruth

A dairy farmer’s son, I joined NFU Scotland in 1999 after 13 years as an agricultural journalist. Following spells as a regional manager and policy lead on milk, livestock and animal health and welfare, I became Communications Director in 2008.

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