Keith Taylor MEP, the Green Party's Animals spokesperson, has written to the Environment Secretary Michael Gove demanding action on live animal exports and animal sentience promises that have been 'quietly dropped' by the government.
During the EU referendum and since being appointed Environment Secretary, Michael Gove has made a number of headline-grabbing pledges on animal welfare. Most notably, the prominent Leave campaigner promised that Brexit would mean an end to live animal exports from Britain and, in response to a backlash against Tory MPs voting against maintaining EU recognition of animal sentience post-Brexit, Mr Gove also promised to enshrine animal sentience in UK law.
Mr Taylor, Vice Chair of the European Parliament's Animal Welfare Intergroup, has written to the Environment Secretary to highlight the lack of progress on either of these key pledges and to note the worrying rhetoric suggesting that the government is preparing to make a U-turn on its promises.
The senior Green politician, who has penned a report looking at the concerning animal welfare impacts of Brexit, said:
"Animal welfare is not a political football; improving it is a moral and compassionate obligation. If Michael Gove reneges on his headline-grabbing pledges, he will have not only scored an own goal but condemned the lives and wellbeing of billions of animals in Britain post-Brexit. Any attempt to quietly drop these pledges will ensure animal advocates continue to distrust the Conservative Party on animal rights issues."
Just a few weeks ago, MEPs voted for tough EU-wide restrictions on live animal exports that would effectively ban sailings from the UK and exports from the EU to third countries.