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Animal Concern Advice Line News

Animal Concern Condemn the Continued Transportation of Live Animals to Slaughter

February 6th 2018: Michael Gove, the Minister responsible for Animal Welfare at Westminster, has promised a consultation on introducing a ban on exporting live animals for slaughter. However Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Minister responsible for Agriculture, has attacked Mr. Gove for this excellent move to protect the welfare of animals. Animal Concern has asked Mr. Ewing to think again as his stance on this brings shame on Scotland.

The pressure group Animal Concern has condemned the Scottish Government for promising to continuing to allow live animals to be exported for slaughter if the Westminster Government bans the trade. Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has promised a consultation on a ban on live exports but his counterpart in Scotland, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing, has made it clear he has no intention of banning live exports from Scotland.

John Robins of Animal Concern said, “This is a disgraceful situation. Scotland could be leading the way on animal welfare instead of lagging far behind England and Wales. The Scottish Government should ban live exports now, before it happens down south. Instead Fergus Ewing has let farmers put a ring through his nose and lead him around like a castrated bull on a rope. His stance on this issue is an embarrassment to Scotland. The ludicrous thing about it is that banning live exports for slaughter would not only avoid a great deal of cruelty and suffering it would boost the farming economy and cut road congestion and pollution. Transporting chilled carcasses on the hook rather than live animals on the hoof increases profits for farmers and greatly reduces the number of vehicles required to transport the products. Under Fergus Ewing we could still see live sheep shipped by road and ferry from Shetland to the south of Greece then killed under circumstances we would not allow in Scotland. Our Rural Affairs Minister should hang his head in shame.”

Fergus Ewing MSP,
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity,
Room T3.25,
The Scottish Parliament,
Edinburgh EH99 1SP

Dear Cabinet Secretary,

It was with disbelief I read comments attributed to you (BBC News text service) about the export of live animals for slaughter.

The report stated that you intend to continue to allow the export of live animals for slaughter abroad even if the Westminster Government bans such exports from England and Wales.

Animals exported live from Scottish farms need more protection than those from England and Wales as they have to travel much greater distances. Live sheep can be shipped from Shetland to southern Greece where they can be killed under conditions which would not be permitted in Scotland.

Slaughtering animals as close to the farm as possible and shipping them as chilled, finished carcasses not only spares the animals from a great deal of stress and suffering it gives our farmers better profits and greatly decreases the number of vehicles required thus reducing congestion on our roads and the resulting pollution.

I urge you to rethink your policy on this and do Scotland and our farm animals a favour by banning live exports before Westminster does.

After Brexit you could do another favour for our farmers by refusing the import of products from animals which have been reared and killed under regimes which do not at least match our own animal welfare standards.

If you decide not to ban the live export trade we will do all we can to persuade the authorities south of the border to deny live transports from Scotland access to English and Welsh ports.

Yours sincerely,

John F. Robins,
Animal Concern