Green Animal Spokesperson: ‘Live exports are barbaric, it’s time to take action’

As the Government’s consultation on live exports is set to close, official figures reveal the most recent annual figures for live exports exceed 400,000 animals, with 43,000 being transported from the UK to the continent.

In response, Keith Taylor MEP, the Green Party’s Animals Spokesperson, is calling for every option to be explored to ensure live farm animals do not leave our shores. The senior Green politician said:

“Live exports are barbaric. I continue to stand alongside the passionate and dedicated campaigners calling for an outright ban on this cruel and unnecessary trade.”

“All live exports cause significant discomfort and suffering. And, on far too many occasions, the regulations in place to mitigate that suffering have been circumvented or ignored by the industry. All this suffering is entirely unnecessary.”

“There has been a somewhat misplaced buzz of excitement suggesting that leaving the EU might finally offer an opportunity to ban live exports. The issue was never that black and white, but we must fully embrace the renewed momentum behind this vital campaign.”

“We must also, however, be clear: ultimately, as members of the Single Market or the World Trade Organisation, the UK is and will continue to be governed by trade regulations that enshrine the free movement of goods. It is this principle that treats beautiful and sentient animals as ‘goods’ as if they’re no different from a bottle of whiskey or bar of chocolate.”

“It is this principle that the Government must be prepared to fight. And while, sadly, the UK has consistently failed to back the ongoing cross-party, EU-wide fight against live exports, any genuine efforts it does now make will be supported by the Green Party.”

In the UK, the Defra consultation on live exports closes on Tuesday, 22 May. Mr Taylor, who is also a Vice Chair of the European Parliament’s Animal Welfare Intergroup, will make a representation to the consultation.

At the European level, Greens will continue to support the EU-wide campaign to introduce maximum journey times. The #StopTheTrucks campaign has, so far, gained the support of more than a million citizens. The campaign is calling for maximum journey times that would effectively stop live exports from the UK to the continent and also prevent millions of farm animals enduring long distance journeys across the EU.

Update 22 May 2018: Keith Taylor MEP’s evidence on controlling live exports for slaughter and to improve animal welfare during transport after the UK leaves the EU.