Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Newspaper column 28 February 2018 - Live animal exports

On Monday in my capacity as a member of the Petitions Committee, I led a debate in Parliament on live animal export.

We are a nation of animal lovers and have a proud history of animal welfare.

As an MP one of the issues that I get the most correspondence about is animal issues.

On Monday I was shocked to see that everything we debated was subject to European Union legislation - so any changes arising as a result would have to wait until after we have left the EU.

It is a sad state of affairs that we have found ourselves in for too long now where the regulations we have been forced to apply with regards to animal welfare coming from the EU have not reflected the views and values of the British people.

I believe there are many good reasons for the UK to free itself from the overbearing burden of regulation and bureaucracy from the EU and this area is one of them.

It is worth noting our UK animal welfare standards are amongst the highest in the World. From farm to fork, our farmers care and so do the majority of our nation.

If only the EU could match our welfare standards in terms of the reality of what happens as opposed to what should happen. Too frequently they don’t. Further, once live animals leave our shores we have justifiably grave concerns that the care, devotion and dedication that our farmers employ, is not always reflected on the Continent, as live animals make their onward journey. Nor that transit animals are routinely treated in such a way as to comply with EU regulations – which in themselves often fall short of our own standards. The UK needs rescuing from the mire of this misjudged fudgery – and so do our animals. Brexit beckons and it really cannot come soon enough.

Many people do accept that there is a different between exporting animals for slaughter and other reasons. There may at times be good reasons for exporting animals that are breading stock or other reasons.

However there seems no good reason to export an animal that is simply destined to be slaughters soon after it reaches its destination.

I can find no good or valid reason why this type of export should continue. It seems a reasonable proposition to me that animals should be slaughtered as close to where they were raised as is practicable. The carcasses, can then be exported.

It would be far more efficient, and the UK would benefit from up-selling and exporting the finished product. 
On any account, we must not put profit ahead of stopping unnecessary suffering.
The new freedoms afforded by the beckoning Brexit will reinstate our sovereignty. We can once again do what is right and proper by our nations, our people and our animals, another reason to look forward to Brexit and beyond!