Welfare of animals during transport - consultation: summary report

Analysis of the responses received to the full public consultation, between 4 December 2020 to 26 February 2021, of the Farm Animal Welfare Committee's opinion on the welfare of animals during transport.

Question 17

Do you agree with the Scottish Government’s position on post-export protection of animal welfare and proposed course of action? Please provide any further relevant information.

It is the view of the Scottish Government that in order for export journeys not to be associated with worse animal welfare, we should also take into account the welfare protections applying to animals after they have arrived at their destination.

We agree that consideration of future regulatory requirements should include what sort of approvals regime to apply to export journeys, including what sort of assurances to require about the post-export protections applying to animals after they have arrived abroad. In principle, we agree with FAWC that no animal should be transported to a destination where the welfare conditions would be unacceptable in the UK. We wish to consider further how that might be applied in practice.

Table 19 – Breakdown of respondent groups to question 17
A chart showing the percentage of responses to question 17 on proposals on post-export protection of animal welfare.

Of the 313 responses to this question, 58.1% were in favour of the Scottish Government’s position on post-export protection of animal welfare and proposed course of action. 24.6% were not in favour and 17.3% did not express a view.

Respondents from the animal welfare sector and Scottish local authorities offered support, in principle, to welfare protections applying to exported animals whilst acknowledging that “it may be very difficult to implement meaningfully” (unnamed welfare organisation). That contention was widely shared by respondents.

Some of the animal welfare sector, and their supporters, used their responses in favour of this proposal to suggest that animal welfare standards in the UK were perceived as better than elsewhere and this would provide “another reason to end live exports immediately” (Catholic Action for Animals) or for suggestions that future trade over long distances should only be for “trading meat, carcasses and genetic material” (Four Paws UK).

Interestingly, a number of organisations, and their supporters, saw the lack of “jurisdiction over countries that are the recipients of live exports” (Animal Aid) as a rationale to not favour the proposals on post-export protections. Other respondents considered that the proposals were insufficiently strong and based opposition on the grounds that “it is not acceptable that the welfare of animals post-export should only be safeguarded “in principle” (Humane Society International UK).

Alternatively, some industry respondents agreed to linking exports with welfare in the receiving countries but also commenting that “we do not agree that live exports should be banned” (National Sheep Association Scotland).

NFU Scotland also commented that their counterparts in England and Wales had carried out some work on an ‘Assurance Scheme’ for exported livestock that might prove useful in future.

Some equine organisations and their supporters, stated that they were “unsure how this could be applied in practice …outwith the Scottish Government’s jurisdiction” and expressed a hope that there would be no impact on “animals being sold within the UK and abroad for breeding purposes” (Orkney Branch of the Pony Club).

Thirty-two respondents also proposed that there should be a similar ban on imports of livestock and livestock products from countries where animal welfare standards were lesser than in Scotland. Whilst this was chiefly commented on by the livestock and farming sectors, one animal welfare organisation also suggested that, in the context of importing slaughtered animals, animal products reared and slaughtered under lesser welfare regimes should be banned.


Email: Animal_Health_Welfare@gov.scot

Back to top