The UK is to pass a law that will ban the use of Great Britain as a land bridge for Irish livestock crossing England to reach the continent.

While the law sounds extreme, in real terms it is unlikely to have a huge impact on Irish exports, as it only applies to animals travelling for slaughter or fattening purposes and very few animals leave Ireland to cross the UK for this purpose.

The UK's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) also told the Irish Farmers Journal that the law will not apply to Northern Ireland while the NI protocol is still in place.

The law is part of the 'action plan for animal welfare' that will include recognising animals as sentient beings.


In light of Brexit, president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) in England Minette Batters said she had serious concerns that any standards applied on British farms would also be applied to imported food products on to the island.

“There are still many practices allowed in countries we are currently negotiating with that are banned here, on welfare grounds.

“For example, it is not uncommon to see journey times for live animals in Australia exceed 24 hours without access to feed or water.

“In comparison, the government has recently consulted on reducing domestic journey times in the UK to eight hours,” she said.