There are now just a couple of weeks left to respond to a Welsh and UK Government consultation on ending live animal exports for slaughter and introducing restrictions that most people familiar with average temperatures during a typical Welsh winter will find bizarre, writes Bryn Francis.

The live export issue has been a hot topic for many years, and where animals from any country are transported in ways which do not meet UK and EU rules and cause suffering, is clearly unacceptable

However, there are far more intelligent ways to prevent this happening than a blanket ban on exports, and anyone who thinks the UK Government is gaining moral high-ground by proposing this need only look at the far lower animal movement and welfare standards in countries with which they are negotiating trade deals to realise this is plain hypocrisy.

It is therefore disappointing that the Welsh Government has once again put its name on the bottom of a Defra document rather than coming up with its own less populist and more intelligent proposals.

As if to illustrate how far removed from reality the authors of the proposals are, the UK has been hit over the past couple of weeks by another Beast from the East, and despite sub-zero temperatures lasting for days, Welsh livestock have generally done well, finding some relief after a very wet few weeks.

That’s no surprise, because they’ve been farmed here for about 6,000 years and are basically designed to cope well with Welsh winters, and temperatures dipping below freezing is hardly unusual in our country.

This is apparently something not understood by those writing the animal movement consultation, presumably from centrally heated rooms in London, nor those from the Welsh Government who presumably checked the document for common sense before agreeing to put their names to it.

The consultation basically proposes that animal movements should not take place in temperatures below 5 degrees centigrade unless livestock trailers and wagons have heater systems and thermostats to keep the temperature above that level. In other words, had the rules proposed by Defra and Welsh Government been in place in the past few weeks, no animals could have been moved unless trailers with heaters costing vast sums had been available - yet those animals have been grazing outside contentedly at temperatures of zero or minus 2 for weeks.

The deadline for this consultation has been extended until the February 25. 2021 and farmers are encouraged to respond by visiting