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The pressure group Animal Concern has condemned the Scottish Government for promising to continuing to allow live animals to be exported for slaughter if the Westminster Government bans the trade.
Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has promised a consultation on a ban on live exports.
But, the charity argues, Mr Gove’s counterpart in Scotland, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing, has made it clear he has no intention of banning live exports from Scotland.
John Robins, from Animal Concern, said: ‘This is a disgraceful situation. Scotland could be leading the way on animal welfare instead of lagging far behind England and Wales.
‘The Scottish Government should ban live exports now, before it happens down south. Instead Fergus Ewing has let farmers put a ring through his nose and lead him around like a castrated bull on a rope. His stance on this issue is an embarrassment to Scotland.
‘The ludicrous thing about it is that banning live exports for slaughter would not only avoid a great deal of cruelty and suffering, it would boost the farming economy and cut road congestion and pollution.
‘Transporting chilled carcasses on the hook rather than live animals on the hoof increases profits for farmers and greatly reduces the number of vehicles required to transport the products.
‘Under Fergus Ewing, we could still see live sheep shipped by road and ferry from Shetland to the south of Greece then killed under circumstances we would not allow in Scotland. Our Rural Affairs Minister should hang his head in shame.’