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Transport central to Scotland’s livestock industry


Given the vital role that transport plays in Scotland’s livestock industry, NFU Scotland has been deeply critical of proposals included in Defra and Scottish Government consultations that closed this week.




The Defra consultation, which related to journeys in (or partly in) England and Wales proposed a 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 looked specifically at the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) report into animal transport and its recommendations.

NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy said: “The ability to transport livestock safely throughout the UK is fundamental to the Scottish livestock industry and opposition to the deeply flawed proposals in these consultations has galvanised the whole Scottish livestock sector.

“Regrettably, the driver behind much of this was a FAWC report that was, in our opinion, poorly written and simplistic in approach and shows no appreciation or understanding of livestock production across all parts of the UK.

“We have worked closely with a wide range of UK and Scottish stakeholders on these consultations; hundreds of members attended NFU Scotland webinars on this subject and all members were encouraged to respond directly to these damaging proposals.  The importance of transport to livestock producers on Scotland’s islands and in more remote areas is paramount and members from those regions were quickest to voice their concerns.

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

“To ensure the best possible welfare outcomes, the FAWC report would have been better to focus on fitness of animals to travel and development of best practice guidance, rather than focussing on the length of journey or the external temperature at the time of transport.

“The proposed changes to journeys based on duration and weather conditions would cause serious delays and disruption, potentially damaging welfare outcomes.  Proposed changes to vehicle requirements would add significant costs and lead to many more journeys being made, increasing greenhouse gas emissions which work against both farming’s and the government’s net zero targets. 

“These are serious issues, especially when no evidence has been provided in the consultations to suggest they would actually benefit animal welfare.”  

Notes to Editors
• Copies of NFU Scotland’s submissions to both the Defra and Scottish Government consultations on animal transport are available on request from media@nfus.org.uk 

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 32/21


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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

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 176/20


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