UK agriculture secretary, Michael Gove, has issued a call for evidence for a potential ban on the live export of animals for slaughter from Britain.

The UK Farm Animal Welfare Committee has also launched a review into the existing welfare standards for animals during transport, and this is being complemented by research commissioned by DEFRA from Scotland’s Rural College and the University of Edinburgh.

“This call for evidence begins to deliver on our manifesto commitment which aims to control the export of live animals for slaughter once we leave the European Union,” Gove said.

“With all options being considered, I am keen to hear from industry, the devolved authorities and charities on all possible options and evidence on this vital issue.”

The call for evidence will last for six weeks. All options for future improvements in this area are being considered, including a potential ban on the live export of animals for slaughter.

Latest figures from 2016 show that, each year, over 4,000 sheep are transported from the UK to continental Europe for slaughter.

Evidence brought forward and any future proposals will be discussed with the Devolved Administrations, DEFRA said.

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