The potential ban would come into effect once Britain leaves the European Union.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world which we are strengthening further by raising maximum sentences for animal cruelty to five years and introducing mandatory CCTV in abattoirs.
“All animals deserve to get the respect and care they deserve at every stage of their lives. 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.
“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 consultation, which is open until 22 May 2018, seeks views from across industry, devolved authorities, charities and the general public on how the Government might raise standards of animal welfare during transport after the UK leaves the EU. The Government said “all options for future improvements in this area are being considered”, including a potential ban on the live export of animals for slaughter.
British Veterinary Association (BVA) president John Fishwick welcomed the announcement.
“BVA welcomes the launch of the government’s call for evidence on live animal exports,” he said. “We believe that production animals should not be transported long distances to the abattoir, but should be slaughtered as near to the point of production as possible. Animals should be transported on the hook, as meat, not on the hoof, as live animals.
“It is vital that we maintain the UK’s current high standards of animal welfare post-Brexit and seek opportunities to improve them. We look forward to contributing to this call and seeing the results once the evidence has been collected.”
On social media, Compassion in World Farming said the proposals “didn’t go far enough”.
In August last year, the Government proposed that CCTV be made mandatory in all English slaughterhouses. The legislation was laid before Parliament in February and was largely welcomed by the meat processing industry.