Leading animal protection charity OneKind has today written to Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, to reconsider his position on live animal exports after Brexit.
This follows comments by the Cabinet Secretary that are reported in The Scotsman today, in which he said that the Scottish Government would not be taking part in any UK-wide scheme to prevent the exportation of live animals, and that:
“I will not support anything that creates further challenges or difficulty for our farming sector or puts Scottish agriculture at a disadvantage. Any such move would potentially do substantial harm to our quality livestock sector, not least farming in the Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney, as well as trade with Northern Ireland.”
In response, OneKind Director Harry Huyton said:
“These comments by the Cabinet Secretary are unsubstantiated and out of touch with the Scottish public, the majority of whom want to see higher animal welfare standards.
“A ban on the export of live animals outside of the UK would have no impact whatsoever on the ability of farmers on the islands to sell their livestock within the UK, nor would it prevent businesses selling meat products outside of the UK. It is designed simply to prevent the abhorrent practice of sending live sheep, cows and other animals on long journeys, in inhumane conditions where animals often give birth on lorries, suffer injuries and even die.”
Live animal exports are currently controlled by EU regulation, and the UK government is considering introducing a ban on live exports of animals for slaughter once the UK leaves the European Union.
Harry Huyton continued:
““Mr Ewing’s position not only risks Scotland being left behind, but it could result in producers in England using Scotland to circumvent a ban on live animal exports. The damage this would do to Scotland’s reputation is immeasurable.”
Notes to editor:
- OneKind is a Scottish animal protection charity working to end cruelty to Scotland’s animals.
- The Scotsman, Brexit: Scotland-UK trade war looms over livestock exports