Animal welfare is a ‘top priority’ for any farmer – NFU

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) deputy president Stuart Roberts has said that animal welfare is always a top priority for any livestock or poultry farmer.

This comes as the government has launched new standards for the welfare of animals in transport today (August 18).

Roberts said:

We maintain that new rules or policy should be based on sound evidence and the latest science.

“We’re pleased to see in some areas Defra [Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] has taken account of the evidence we presented and made changes to its proposals.

“However, we’re disappointed that other elements are not more meaningfully welfare-focused, utilising driver training and experience.

“For example, we are frustrated that our proposal for a live export assurance scheme has been overlooked, which would have ensured UK rules on transport and processing would have followed animals to other countries.

We believe basing a transport ban purely on its purpose, in this case for slaughter, is not logical given that farmers and transporters have an inherent interest in ensuring all journeys meaningfully protect welfare at all stages and types of movement.

“We are pleased to see that Defra is committed to working collaboratively with the industry in this area and we stand ready to support further policy development to improve welfare at transport.”