Farmers and crofters are being encouraged to respond to two consultations on livestock transport.
Farmers’ union NFU Scotland (NFUS) says farmer input into the consultations – one for England and Wales and one for Scotland – is vital as differing rules within the UK and in Europe could pose a challenge when transporting livestock after Brexit.
The consultation south of the border, run by Defra and open until January 28, proposes a ban on the live export of stock for further finishing or slaughter and restrictions on journey length and conditions, including outside temperature during transport and headroom.
The Scottish consultation, which runs until February 26, seeks views on how recommendations from the Farm Animal Welfare Council’s report into animal transport could be implemented in Scotland.
The council’s proposals include a maximum journey time of 21 hours, with special permission needed to exceed this, and rules governing the length of time an animal can spend at an auction market.
“These consultations will re-examine fundamental transport requirements that have been in place since the EU Transport of Animals directive was agreed in 2005,” said NFUS vice-president Charlie Adam.
“While NFU Scotland will direct considerable resources to ensuring we capture the views of our members when responding to these consultations, we also urge all farmers and crofters to find the time to respond directly.”
He said parallel consultations on animal transport in Scotland and England and Wales, alongside post-Brexit rules governing livestock transport to Europe and Northern Ireland, raised the prospect of livestock transporters having to juggle three sets of rules – Scottish, English and Welsh, and European.
“Having regulations that are complementary, rather than contradictory, will be critical in safeguarding Scottish agriculture’s interests in the UK and EU markets,” added Mr Adam.