Brexit isn't the silver bullet that will end live exports - Keith Taylor MEP

18 September 2017

Keith Taylor MEP, Green Party animals spokesperson, has reiterated his call for an outright ban on live animal exports in response to an investigation by BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme [1].

Taylor, the vice president of the European Parliament's Welfare Intergroup, joined campaigners from across the world who came together last week in opposition to live animal exports [2]. 

The 'Stop Live Exports' awareness day events were organised by Compassion in World Farming and supported by the RSPCA and other international animal welfare organisations.

Taylor has been a long-term campaigner against live exports and has written an article [3] urging his fellow campaigners not to be 'seduced' by the idea that Brexit will put an end to the cruel industry.

Commenting on the issue, he said:

"Live exports are barbaric and the latest heartbreaking exposé is shocking but, sadly, the practices uncovered are all too common. I continue to stand alongside the passionate and dedicated campaigners across Europe and the world calling for an outright ban on this cruel and unnecessary trade."

"Live exports treat beautiful and sentient animals as 'goods' as if they're no different from a bottle of whiskey or bar of chocolate. Greens want to see it banned outright."

"All this suffering is entirely unnecessary. And, following the tumultuous EU referendum last year, there has been a misplaced buzz of excitement amongst British animal welfare activists that leaving the EU might finally offer an opportunity to ban live exports outright."

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Brexit is unlikely to be the silver bullet that halts live exports.

"The Government is pursuing an extreme Brexit with Britain outside of the Single Market. Ignoring the disastrous economic consequences and the loss of vital environmental, workers' rights and even animal welfare protections — if that comes to pass — Britain will become an independent member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)."

"As a member of the WTO, it's as likely — if not more likely — that live animal exports will increase rather than decrease. The WTO governs the conditions, rules, and regulation of trade between countries and governments. There are currently no grounds to restrict trade, as a member of the WTO, based on animal welfare objections."

"Other WTO member states, particularly those that profit from live exports, can challenge any proposed UK ban if they see it as a barrier to trade. Complicating this further is that it is entirely down to the UK government to explicitly include animal welfare standards in the language of future Free Trade Agreements (FTA)."
 
"We, therefore, as passionate, animal-loving Brits, need to continue fighting to strengthen animal welfare standards as members of the EU. We already have the necessary legislative tools at our disposal to help us in the fight — they were a gift from the EU, afforded to us by membership."
 
"We are stronger working with our friends and neighbours, and we can — and should — continue to fight as part of the EU with the strength that our membership brings."

Austria, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands have all backed the #StopTheTrucks campaign calling on the European Commission to review and update EU transport regulations and, so far, the campaign's online petition has garnered the signatures of over one million EU citizens.

Notes:

1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41281570

2. Keith also recorded a message in support of campaigners: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfdeGpXvFlk

3. http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2989275/will_brexit_spell_the_end_for_live_animal_exports.html






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