Gove is “considering all options” regarding livestock exports, including a ban.
But Scotland, a devolved region of the UK that sets its own laws on agriculture, is against it.
The Scottish Government’s rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing warned a ban on livestock exports would cause “substantial harm” to local farmers and “disadvantage” agriculture.
A disadvantage to Scottish farming
“The UK Government appears to be ready to ban all live exports of livestock,” he said.
“So 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.
“Any such move would potentially do substantial harm to our quality livestock sector, not least farming in the Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney, as well as trade with Northern Ireland.
“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, enabling our produce to be traded around the world.”
A Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) spokesperson told this site: “We have a clear manifesto commitment to take early steps to control the export of live farm animals for slaughter as we leave the EU.”
The spokesperson added Gove was “considering all options”, but did not say an announcement was close.
There are some big ramifications in a hypothetical scenario that would see Scotland continue to export livestock while the rest of UK did not. Such a decision could create a trade barrier at the Scottish border, potentially scuppering export deals with the EU and foreign countries like the US and Australia.
Should the UK Government ban livestock exports?