FUW Welcomes Livestock Exclusion in MAE Regulation
The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed moves to exempt livestock from the regulation pertaining to Mobile Animal Exhibits (MAEs) and recently responded to the Welsh Government consultation on this issue.
As stated in the FUW’s response to the 2017 consultation on this issue, the 2015 Harris et al review, which is cited within this consultation as a core piece of evidentiary support, was conducted to evaluate the welfare of wild and non-domesticated animals. This consultation therefore provides no evidentiary support to justify the inclusion of domesticated livestock in the definition and / or regulation associated with MAEs and the FUW would seek to ensure that all livestock are thus exempt from the definition of MAEs.
Livestock keepers already adhere to a wealth of regulation pertaining to the health and welfare of farmed animals. Such regulation covers a breadth of issues including on-farm welfare, welfare at transport, welfare at slaughter and welfare at market. The specific regulations include the Animal Welfare Act (2006); the Welfare of Farmed Animals (Wales) regulation 2007; the Welfare of Animal in Transport Order 2007. In addition, sector specific livestock welfare Codes of Practise are available and cover issues such as the 5 basic freedoms, including freedom to exhibit normal behaviours and freedom from fear and stress.
As part of its consultation response on this issue, the FUW cited that an integral part of the union’s work is to reconnect the general public with the countryside environment and the food that they consume. Educating both current and future consumers is of paramount importance in developing consumers which are able to make informed decisions when buying food produce. The Union continues to reiterate that food produced to high health and welfare standards carries additional costs which may not be borne by producers in other countries. It is therefore essential that the general public are offered the opportunity to learn about domestic food production standards by engaging with livestock at shows and displays.
Given the above, the FUW believes it is therefore essential that the current consultation does not hinder efforts to connect consumers with the countryside and food production as any disconnect could inadvertently hinder animal welfare by increasing the consumption of cheaper imports produced to lower welfare standards.
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