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ANIMAL WELFARE ORDER HAMPERS ENFORCEMENT - TRADING STANDARDS BOSS

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New animal welfare rules due to come into force later this month will not improve the lot of farm animals in transi...
New animal welfare rules due to come into force later this month will not improve the lot of farm animals in transit and will cause more problems than they solve, North Yorkshire CC's chief trading standards officer Gordon Gresty told BBC Radio 4' Farming Today programme.

Mr Gresty initiated last week's successful prosecution of calf dealer and exporter Albert Hall Farms for animal welfare breaches.

He said while he welcomed any improvement in animal welfare legislation, the new Welfare of Animals During Transit Order 1994 failed to address problems faced by trading standards officers in enforcing present legislation.

'In fact, it has even more problems associated with it. Far from tightening the legislation, as stated by Mr Waldegrave, it will hamper enforcement', claimed Mr Gresty.

He said trading standards officers had not been consulted and he had written to agriculture minister William Waldegrave outlining all the problems of the legislation, as had many other people concerned with the welfare of animals and with enforcement.

He said introduction of the Order should be postponed so that the problems in it could be put right.

'It is unclear. It does not have clear definitions of what are classified as journeys. It has associated with it a code of practice, which has no statutory backing whatsoever, which lays down resting times and so on. Unless that is made statutory or those times are laid down in legislation, we cannot enforce them.

'I also believe that this reduces the responsibility on people involved in the livestock transportation industry. At present we are able to put the responsibility on exporters and on hauliers. The new legislation tends to limit it to one of those, and I think that is a retrograde step', said Mr Gresty.

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