Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, called for an evidence-based approach to post-Brexit animal welfare regulation in a parliamentary debate on live animal exportation yesterday. Mr Carmichael also set out questions that he felt the government would need to answer in putting forward a plan for future regulations.
Speaking in the debate, Mr. Carmichael said:
“What is important? What should we be looking for as we seek to regulate this whole area better? I say to the Minister that in looking at this issue, which will constantly be under scrutiny, and rightly so, there is plenty of evidence and research. It is that evidence and research, not sentiment, that should ultimately govern the decisions that we make.”
Speaking after the debate, Mr. Carmichael added:
“Post-Brexit, it is vital that the highest possible animal welfare standards are upheld. No one wants animals to suffer unnecessarily.
“However, we need a framework that ensures a proper balance between animal welfare and commercial agriculture.
“I feel uneasy that once we concede the principle that animals should not be transported abroad on ferries for export then the pressure to restrict their internal movement within the UK by sea will soon follow. The systems for transporting animals from the Northern Isles to the Scottish Mainland were designed to the highest standards of animal welfare and involved local farmers and livestock shippers in their design. It shows that transportation by sea can be done humanely and safely.”