Keith has written to the Guardian over the hyprocrisy of Conservative and Liberal Democrat MEPs in relation to animal transport and stopping live animal exports from the UK.
Hypocrisy of coalition parties over the live exports of animals
‘We would prefer to see animals slaughtered as close as possible to where they are reared, but while live animal exports remain a legal trade under European laws we must allow it to continue.’ These were the words last week of David Heath, the Minister of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in relation to live exports leaving the UK from the Port of Ramsgate.
Although long overdue, this statement was a welcome sign that the Government is finally beginning to act on this issue. I was therefore shocked to see that not a single Conservative and only one Liberal Democrat MEP voted in favour of a European Parliament resolution calling on the European Commission to bring forward legislative proposals to limit the journey time for animals to be slaughtered to eight hours. This resolution, tabled by the Greens in the Parliament, was voted on the same day as DEFRA issued the statement above.
The adoption of this resolution would have been a step towards an eight hour limit being brought into law, bringing about an end to many of the live exports from the UK. Due to the voting behaviour of, among others, the Conservatives and Lib Dems, however, this resolution was sadly not adopted and an important opportunity to improve protection for transported animals was missed. A weaker resolution was adopted in its place.
An overall limit of eight hours, among other measures, would ensure animals are taken to their nearest abattoir and would prevent animals from being confined in lorries for unnecessarily long journeys, sometimes up to 100 hours. I’m appalled, but not surprised, by this hypocrisy and wonder if the coalition government is even aware of how their colleagues in Brussels voted on this? I will be taking this up with David Heath.