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New Inquiry: How will new Brexit regulations affect pet travel and live animal exports?

21 January 2021

Travelling abroad with pets, transporting racehorses, and the trade of farm animals for slaughter will be subject to new rules following Brexit. Today, the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee has launched an inquiry into how these regulations will impact on animal welfare, disease control and the industry interests.

Building on its evidence sessions on the illegal trade in smuggled puppies, the cross-party group of MPs will ask if current checks on the movement of domestic animals are strong enough to prevent this cruel activity. Over the course of the Moving Animals Across Borders inquiry the Committee will also assess how leaving the EU Pet Travel scheme will affect pet owners wishing to take domestic animals to the EU or Northern Ireland. The movement of horses, ponies and donkeys for breeding and racing will also be considered.  

The inquiry will also look at how a potential ban on exporting live animals for fattening and slaughter could improve animal welfare, as well as its impact on UK farmers.   


Committee member and veterinary surgeon, Dr Neil Hudson MP, said:  

"Thousands of animals, from pets to racehorses to farm animals, are moved between the UK and the EU every year. Recent new rules for pet passports- and incoming ones for livestock and equines - provide us with an opportunity to clamp down on the illegal pet trade, and improve the health and welfare of animals in transit. Also, in terms of biosecurity and disease prevention, we have the opportunity to protect and improve the health status of animals here in the UK. 

We also want to understand the effects of new regulations on our important farming and equine industries and what support they will need to adjust. We need our new rules to be underpinned by the best possible evidence, and our inquiry will hold the Government to account on this." 

Chair of the EFRA Committee, Neil Parish MP, said:  

"The Government’s proposals would bring a raft of changes for those who export live animals. While I welcome the ambition to improve animal welfare, it is important that the Government considers the impacts on British farmers of a ban on live exports and what will happen to animals that would be exported.    

The Committee has called for stronger action to tackle the cruel illegal trade in puppies numerous times. Now that we are as third country by the EU, we need to examine how this will affect both legal and illegal pet travel.    

We want to ensure that the Government is taking the right actions to ensure the best possible animal health and welfare, alongside supporting business and pet owners." 

The Committee is seeking answers on the following questions: 

1. Does the UK have sufficient resources and capacity to certify, record and inspect animal movements across its borders?  

2. How effectively will the UK be able to conduct animal disease surveillance and respond to outbreaks?

3. What impact will the new UK-EU agreement have on moving animals across the Irish border and between GB and the EU/Northern Ireland?

4. How should the Government balance animal health and welfare alongside economic interests?

  Live animal exports: 

5. What impact will ending live animal exports for slaughter and fattening have on UK farmers, processors and other businesses? 

6. Does the UK have sufficient capacity to slaughter and process animals that are currently exported? If not, what could be improved?

 Domestic animals: 

7. How will Great Britain leaving the EU Pet Travel Scheme affect both legal and illegal movements of animals between GB and the EU/NI?

8. Are the current rules and checks on the movement of domestic animals strong enough to prevent illegal activity? If not, what could be improved?


9. What impact will the EU Animal Health Law have on the movement of equines between GB and the EU/NI from April 2021?

10. Will the rules and checks on the movement of equines be strong enough to prevent illegal activity? If not, what could be improved? 

Further information

Image: Pixabay