On Monday 26 February Craig Mackinlay MP contributed to a debate relating to the ending of the export of live farm animals after the UK leaves the EU, which you can watch here. Craig has long argued that Brexit is an opportunity to improve animal welfare given that existing EU legislation forbids member states from outlawing live animal exports for slaughter. During the course of this trade, animals are sent sometimes without a vet, water, or food in cramped conditions, across many hundred miles to face conditions of slaughter that we would find abhorrent.
The South Thanet MP told MPs that “…post-Brexit, we can have a renaissance of animal welfare standards alongside our commitments to introduce CCTV in abattoirs and increased sentences for those who abuse animals.” He described how the “small commercial port of Ramsgate… is now the only UK port through which lamb and sheep are transported across a sea border for slaughter abroad”.
Craig reminded MPs of the “appalling fiasco” at Ramsgate which hit the national headlines on 12 September 2012 when a single lorry carrying over 500 sheep was declared unfit to travel. Temporary holding pens were set up, 43 sheep had to be euthanised, six fell into the water and two drowned. Breaches of animal welfare regulations were found with fines and a suspended prison sentence for the director of the transport company.
Craig also briefed MPs on his own work in the campaign against live animal exports for slaughter which has included tabling a bill in the previous Parliament to allow municipal controlled ports the discretion to ban this trade. He also referred to an event he hosted in Parliament last month that was attended by key animal welfare groups, and diverse celebrities including Joanna Lumley, Frederick Forsyth, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Selina Scott who have all long campaigned to end live animal exports for slaughter.
Craig Mackinlay MP commented:
“I was pleased to see many MPs who have campaigned for years to end live exports gathered together for this debate.
“I am hopeful that the Agriculture Bill, which will set out the framework of post-Brexit farming, will also propose that we finally put a stop to this barbaric practice once and for all.
“Inflicting needless suffering on animals is not acceptable and it must end.”