Protesters gathered outside of Suffolk Coastal MP Thérèse Coffey's office to call for an end to live animal exports - as a bill banning the practice progresses through parliament.

Compassion in World Farming - an animal charity - is pressing the environment secretary to speed up progress of the Kept Animals Bill, claiming it had "stalled" for 15 months.

But a government spokesman said the date for the next stage of the bill - currrently at the report stage in the House of Commons - would be announced "in the usual way".

"We are fully committed to delivering our manifesto commitments on animal welfare, including ending the export of live animals, clamping down on puppy smuggling and banning the keeping of primates as pets," he added.

Protesters were at Ms Coffey's constituency office in Martlesham on Tuesday, March 7. It was one of five stops planned by the group, which arrived with a model of an animal transport lorry with a 27,000-strong petition supporting its campaign. 

East Anglian Daily Times:

The moving protests started in Somerset before moving to Suffolk and continuing on to Nottinghamshire, the Lake District and Yorkshire.

The charity has branded the practice of exporting live animals as "cruel" - but livestock farmers argue transporting animals is highly regulated and necessary.

Protesters also targeted the constituency offices of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) ministers Mark Spencer, Rebecca Pow and Trudy Harrison - and prime minister Rishi Sunak's constituency.

James West, senior policy manager at Compassion in World Farming complained that the bill had not progressed since November 2021.

"The government simply aren’t making it a priority, despite calls from the British public and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including Compassion in World Farming, to do so," he said.

"By taking our campaign to the doorsteps of those who can advance this bill, we are making it impossible for them to ignore it any longer.

“Live exports cause overcrowding, stress, exhaustion, dehydration, hunger and even death. This cruel trade must end."

National Farmers' Union (NFU) Suffolk branch chairman Andrew Blenkiron said live animal exports were "vital to certain sectors of our industry, particularly those selling high value pedigree livestock to other parts of the world". 

"The transport of non pedigree animals is equally important to ensure that the animals can be easily moved to the most suitable outlet. Many European countries export animals around Europe with no detrimental effects to the animals involved," he added.

East Anglian Daily Times: