Michael Gove pledges to consider views of devolved administrations in live animal export consultation

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 10 April 2018 in News

Michael Gove described the move as a chance to secure the UK as a global leader in animal welfare after Brexit

Image credit: PA

Michael Gove has pledged to consider the views of devolved administrations as he launches a consultation considering plans to ban live export of animals after Brexit.

Describing the move as a chance to secure the UK as a global leader in animal welfare, the UK Environment Secretary issued a call for evidence from industry and campaigners, saying “all options” are on the table.

But Labour branded the plans as “weak”, with Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman claiming they are “just the latest in a string of desperate attempts by the Tories to portray themselves as animal-friendly”.

Around 20,000 live sheep were exported to Europe in 2017, according to estimates from the National Farmers' Union.

Both the RSPCA and British Veterinary Association support calls for a ban, with BVA president John Fishwick saying: “Animals should be transported on the hook, as meat, not on the hoof, as live animals”.

Announcing plans for a consultation, Gove said: "All animals deserve to get the respect and care they deserve at every stage of their lives.”

 “I am keen to hear from industry, the devolved authorities and charities on all possible options and evidence on this vital issue."

Critics of live exporting welcomed the consultation, but Labour said it did not go far enough.

“This weak announcement only amounts to a call for evidence and is just the latest in a string of desperate attempts by the Tories to portray themselves as animal-friendly,” Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman said.

“Over the last year the Tories have supported a free vote on bringing back fox hunting and overseen the largest number of badgers culled across England on record.

“Labour is the party of animal welfare and our proposed 50-point plan goes much further and proposes a ban on live exports for slaughter or fattening.”

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