Scottish Labour have renewed its call for a ban on the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening, following reports that Scotland exported thousands of young calves last year.

The investigation by BBC Scotland Disclosure found that 5,000 calves were shipped to Europe last year from Scotland, while none were exported from England. The calves, some of them as young as three weeks old, were being exported from Scotland through Cairnryan ferry port in Dumfries and Galloway.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Connectivity and Transport Colin Smyth recently tabled a motion last week seeking a debate on the matter, which has now received cross-party support.

Commenting ahead of the documentary, Colin Smyth MSP said:

“These shocking findings highlight the need for action on this matter. Scottish Government have repeatedly refused to support a ban on live exports, despite the well-documented animal welfare risks. This new evidence must surely convince them to reconsider.

“Scotland’s reputation as a producer of high-quality, ethically sourced meat is invaluable to the sector, and ensuring that we lead the way on animal welfare standards is essential to maintaining that. The news that Cairnryan Port was one of the only ports in the UK to take part in this trade threatens the reputations of both Scotland and the Dumfries and Galloway region. I am pleased that P&O Ferries have now decided to no longer co-operate with the Scottish Government to transport young calves across the Irish Sea which are destined for continental Europe but the Government should now realise they are out of touch and do the decent thing and ban live animal exports for slaughter and fattening”.

“A ban on live animal exports to out with the UK would not impact on necessary travel within Scotland or to the rest of the UK, for example from islands to the mainland. In Scotland we can enforce high welfare standards but once animals leave our shores we have no control over their welfare during travel or at their final destination and tough regulations are quickly cast aside leading to immeasurable animal cruelty.  It is time for the Scottish Parliament to have an honest debate on the future of live exports in Scotland”.

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