Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East, has branded the Government's Brexit plans "far too deluded for realists and not deluded enough for Brextremists." He added that the newly published white paper "has succeeded only in uniting the British people against the Tories' unworkable Brexit vision."
The senior Green Party politician and Animals Spokesperson also honed in on the white paper's animal welfare implications, continuing:
"The language in the white paper is hugely concerning; the Government talks of seeking the 'freedom' to apply different welfare standards than those currently guaranteed by the EU. At the same time, there is no commitment to a regression clause in a future trade agreement that would stop the UK government watering down protections at their whim, as has been suggested for other standards. Which, with the prospect of a UK-US trade deal on the horizon, is hugely concerning for all animal advocates."
Mr Taylor MEP, who recently published a report on the animal welfare implications of Brexit, also noted the white paper's apparent backtracking on the Environment Secretary Michael Gove's promise to ban live animal exports post-Brexit. The live exports campaigner said:
"Not only does the white paper's phrasing suggest a complete lack of understanding of the issue of animal suffering caused by live transportation, the much-touted plan to ban it post-Brexit has been dropped altogether."
"Instead, we have the ambition to improve the treatment of the animals being transported; despite one of the major problems in the UK being the Government's refusal to implement the checking and monitoring procedures necessary to ensure current welfare protections are upheld. There is little hope that the same Government would install a system to improve that post-Brexit when it could have done just that many years ago."
"Ultimately, I have always been clear: Brexit, in whatever formulation, is not the silver bullet to end live animal exports. The WTO and EU Single Market alike enshrine the free movement of goods in their rules. It is this principle that treats beautiful and sentient animals as ‘goods’, as if they are no different from a bottle of whiskey or bar of chocolate."
"It is this principle, inside or out of the EU, that the Government must be prepared to fight. Yet the white paper shows the Government is already waving the white flag."