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Could Brexit mean the end of the highly unpopular live export trade? Environment Secretary Michael Gove hinted this could be the case – although he would not confirm anything.
Live export sees animals from all over the UK undertake gruelling journeys – often lasting up to 48 hours or longer – overseas, where they are slaughtered.
The notoriously low welfare of slaughterhouses in many of the destination countries, as well as the suffering endured by animals on the journey itself, makes the trade unpopular with many. But under EU legislation, the ports must let animals – designated as ‘goods’ – pass through.
Gove said: “If we leave the EU, we can take steps on live animal exports that ensure that the standards of animal welfare are higher than ever before so we can have a ‘green’ Brexit that ensures that Britain is an an environmental leader.”
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [Defra] added: “As we leave the European Union, we can take early steps to control the export of live farm animals for slaughter.”