The federal government has appeared to backtrack on a key post-Brexit suggestion to ban the export of live animals for slaughter, angering politicians and animal rights campaigners.
Michael Gove launched a session right into a ban earlier this yr, promising to ship insurance policies that “respect and care” animals and elevating the prospect of ending the export of 1000’s of dwell livestock to mainland Europe.
However on Wednesday the surroundings secretary would solely decide to “restrictions” on the apply.
“I’m minded to limit them sure, and I’m trying on the proof to see how we are able to make applicable, or take applicable steps,” Mr Gove informed BBC Radio four’s At this time programme.
Requested straight whether or not he was nonetheless minded to ban it, he mentioned: “I’m minded to take each step we are able to in an effort to make sure that we prohibit animal exports and that we safeguard animal welfare.”
Pressed on the problem, the surroundings secretary insisted “all choices are on the desk”, with out ever utilizing the phrase “ban”.
Caroline Lucas, MP and former chief of the Inexperienced Get together, accused the Tories of delivering a Brexit “constructed on lies”.
“Brexiteers promised a ban on dwell animal exports,” she wrote on Twitter. “Now Michael Gove says it gained’t occur.
“This Tory Brexit is constructed on lies.”
James West, senior coverage supervisor at Compassion in World Farming, mentioned he was “involved” Mr Gove seemed to be “backtracking on his dwell export dedication”.
“On quite a few events, Michael Gove has spoken about how the federal government are contemplating stopping dwell exports for slaughter,” he mentioned. ”This morning, when pressed, he repeatedly used the phrase ‘prohibit’. The marketing campaign to cease dwell exports is one which has run for a few years, and a difficulty individuals really feel very strongly about.
“Will probably be a serious disappointment to nearly all of British residents if the federal government abandon their plans.”
Labour’s shadow surroundings minister, David Drew, mentioned: “Michael Gove is again pedalling on his promise to ban dwell exports. We’re demanding that Michael Gove now clarifies the federal government’s place on banning dwell exports.”
Official figures present that every yr at the least four,000 sheep are transported from the UK to Europe for slaughter, with an estimated 6,000 calves exported from Northern Eire, regardless of authorities paperwork admitting “all types of transport might have destructive results on the animal’s welfare”.
Present European single market guidelines at the moment forestall the UK from banning the dwell export of animals, which accounts for less than a small proportion of Britain’s £2.4bn commerce in meat and livestock with the EU.
Campaigners celebrated when in April, Mr Gove held a public session on the proposed dwell export ban. That they had battled for years to focus on the cramped, unnatural circumstances on export vehicles throughout lengthy journeys with inadequate water in usually sweltering temperatures.
Mr Gove’s about-turn got here after surroundings and meals officers requested advisers on the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) to review the conditions animals are subjected to throughout long-distance dwell transport and to make suggestions on bettering them.
Campaigners mentioned this raised suspicions the federal government could also be backing away from a ban on the “merciless and fully pointless” apply.
Ministers are additionally going through stress from the Scottish authorities, which opposes a ban. Scottish farmers usually ship younger, unweaned calves to nations similar to Spain on journeys lasting 100 hours or extra, and Scotland’s rural financial system secretary Fergus Ewing says a ban would trigger “substantial hurt” to the nation’s livestock sector.
Defra has been contacted for remark.
The Impartial has launched its #FinalSay marketing campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the ultimate Brexit deal.