PLANS to ban the export of live animals from England and Wales for slaughter and fattening, which have been strongly supported by West Dorset MP Chris Loder, have been unveiled.

The plans were revealed by the UK’s environment secretary, George Eustice, in the start of a renewed push by the Government to strengthen the UK’s position as a world leader on animal welfare.

An estimated 6,400 animals were sent to Europe for slaughter in 2018, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Mr Loder has worked closely with the RSPCA and the British Veterinary Association among others to (enable this to happen) and is urging as many people as possible to support his campaign by responding to the Government consultation.

In his speech in the House of Commons on October 23, during the second reading of the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill, the MP demanded the house support and deliver the government’s pledge to end live animal exports - claiming that it was disgraceful that well cared for farm animals could be loaded on to a lorry and sent thousands of miles by land and sea to destinations as far as Libya and Lebanon.

Mr Loder said: “Today’s announcement is a victory for animal welfare. It is a direct benefit of Britain leaving the EU. It is the EU’s trading rules on the movement of animals, along with the lobby from the National Farmers’ union to continue live exports for slaughter and fattening, that has enabled this cruel practice for so long.

“Bringing an end to the unnecessary suffering of animals during transport is long overdue. Through my Animal Welfare Bill, which reaches the Committee Stage early next year, I hope not only to achieve tougher custodial sentences for those who inflict the worst kinds of cruelty on innocent animals; but also to deal with the cruelty that has been happening on a mass scale, such as with live animal exports.”

Live animals commonly have to endure excessively long journeys during exports, causing distress and injury.

Should the ban come to pass it would see England and Wales become the first countries in Europe to end this practice.