The Farmers’ Union of Wales has responded with concern to the announcement of a live export ban as part of the King’s Speech, which set out the government’s priorities to introduce the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill and Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill.

The Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill is set to introduce a legislative ban on the live export of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses for slaughter or fattening from Great Britain.

FUW president Ian Rickman responded to the news, saying: “Introducing a legislative ban on live exports has the potential of creating an oversupply in UK markets, resulting in lower demand and therefore prices farmers receive for their stock.

“Defra previously estimated that such a ban would cost the industry £6.6 million per annum, yet this was merely based upon an assumed 15 per cent price differential without taking into account the loss of markets or the likelihood of such costs disproportionately falling on small and micro enterprises.”

The speech also set out the government’s priority to introduce the Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill which would effectively ensure the UK can meet its international commitments under the CPTPP.

“The UK Government promised that they would not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards in all trade negotiations. However, what we’re seeing here is an increase in barriers for UK producers while the government signs liberalised free trade agreements with other countries,” added Mr Rickman.

“CPTPP membership comprises a diverse range of countries with standards that vary greatly, however, many produce food in manners that would be illegal in the UK, whether due to animal identification and traceability, approaches to drug and chemical use or levels of environmental protection.

“As such, it seems that efforts made by the UK Government to ensure that, where possible, standards are included in trade deals in order to ensure equivalence, maintain UK food standards and protect UK farmers from unfair competition have been absent or negligible.”

The RSPCA has however backed the ban, with its senior public affairs manager in Wales, Billie-Jade Thomas, saying: “It’s great news for animal welfare that a ban on live exports was included in the King’s Speech.

“The suffering these animals have to endure is unnecessary and needs to be stopped, prevented and - crucially - outlawed.

“But despite the strength of public feeling, the UK Government has been dragging its feet on bringing in a ban – so today is potentially a really historic day for animals.

“However, we need to make sure this ban applies to Wales too.

“We were all disappointed when the UK Government dropped the Kept Animals Bill - but we now urge Welsh Ministers to liaise with the UK Government and bring forward a new legislative consent motion so the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill applies here too.”