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‘Brexit unlikely to be silver bullet that halts live exports’, warns MEP

PUBLISHED: 08:43 13 September 2017

Green MEP Keith Taylor with a protester in Ramsgate

Green MEP Keith Taylor with a protester in Ramsgate

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Campaigners are coming together today in opposition to the controversial trade

Brexit is “unlikely to be the silver bullet that halts live exports”, a south east MEP has warned.

Keith Taylor of the Green Party reiterated his call for an outright ban on the controversial trade as he joins campaigners on the Live Animal Transportation International Day of Awarness.

Mr Taylor, the vice president of the European Parliament’s Welfare Intergroup, will be taking part in a group action in Strasbourg as campaigners across the world come together in opposition to the trade.

The senior Green politician has also recorded a video messag to be played at the ‘Stop Live Transport’ rally in Parliament Square, London.

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay earlier this year blamed “the big boot of the EU” for blocking Britain’s ability to stop the trade, and said leaving the EU would allow greater control.

Mr Taylor, however, claims Brexit will not necessarily bring an end to the industry, which has seen large numbers of shipments passing through the port of Ramsgate in recent months.

“Live exports are barbaric and I’m so pleased to stand alongside passionate and dedicated campaigners not just in my constituency, where hundreds have turned out in Kent to stand against live animal transportation, but across Europe and the world,” he said.

“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.”

Mr Taylor said that Britain will become an independent member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) after leaving the EU, but insisted at that point it could be expected that live animal exports will in fact increase rather than decrease.

“The WTO governs the conditions, rules, and regulation of trade between countries and governments,” he added.

“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.

“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.”

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