A ban on live animal exports would be ‘remarkably shortsighted’ given the uncertainty around a post-Brexit trade deal and agricultural tariffs, the Farmers’ Union of Wales has said.
The UK and Welsh Governments yesterday (April 9) launched a call for evidence on a UK-wide ban on the export of live animals for overseas slaughter - something not possible while the UK remains part of the EU, due to EU free trade rules.
FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We will naturally be consulting with members over this issue, but our current position is that it would be remarkably short sighted to introduce a ban on live exports at the same time as massive tariffs on meat exports to the EU might be introduced.”
Mr Roberts said such a ban could cut off an essential lifeline for sheep farmers, given tariffs of around 50% of product value could apply on meat once we leave the EU, and that this would collapse the trade in sheepmeat exports, which currently represents around a third of Welsh lamb sales.
“We fully appreciate people’s concerns about live exports, but we must bear in mind that the EU has legal welfare standards which are the highest in the world, and these apply both here and on mainland Europe.”
Mr Roberts’ comments echo those of the Scottish Government.
Responding to a similar proposal earlier this year, Mr Ewing said: "Let me be absolutely clear, this is one UK-wide framework the Scottish government will not be participating in. I will not support anything that creates further challenges or difficulty for our farming sector or puts Scottish agriculture at a disadvantage."
"The Scottish government will therefore not support the banning of live exports of livestock, but will remain committed to the welfare of all animals during transport adhering to the current rigorous standards which apply - standards and regulations provided by the EU, that are already world class and protect us all through animal, plant and chemical health measures and enabling our produce to be traded around the world."
Mr Roberts said the concerns surrounding the proposals in Scotland were identical to those in Wales, and that any such ban would be a massive own-goal.