Michael Gove mulls ban on live animal exports after Brexit

Posted On: 
10th April 2018

The live export of animals could be banned after Brexit in a bid to secure the UK as a global leader in animal welfare, under plans being mulled by Michael Gove.

20,000 live sheep were exported from the UK to the EU, according to the NFU
Credit: 
PA Images

The Environment Secretary has issued a call for evidence from industry and campaigners and said “all options” are on the table.

"All animals deserve to get the respect and care they deserve at every stage of their lives,” he explained.

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“I am keen to hear from industry, the devolved authorities and charities on all possible options and evidence on this vital issue."

Some 20,000 live sheep were exported from the UK to Europe last year, according to estimates by the National Farmers’ Union.

EU rules currently mean Britain cannot ban live exports, but after Brexit the UK will be free to make its own call on the controversial practice.

Critics of live exporting welcomed the consultation, but Labour said it did not go far enough.

"This weak announcement only amounts to a call for evidence and is just the latest in a string of desperate attempts by the Tories to portray themselves as animal-friendly,” Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman said.

"Over the last year the Tories have supported a free vote on bringing back fox hunting and overseen the largest number of badgers culled across England on record.

"Labour is the party of animal welfare and our proposed 50-point plan goes much further and proposes a ban on live exports for slaughter or fattening."