Environment Secretary Michael Gove has signalled that there will not be a ban on live animal exports from the UK, as previously promised by the Conservative government.
Asked three times about the proposed ban today, Mr Gove backtracked on his previous promise of a ‘ban’ and instead insisted he supported ‘restrictions’.
Discussing the topic on BBC Radio 4, Mr Gove was asked if the UK would see an end to live animal exports
“We’re going to see restrictions on live animal exports, certainly, and we’re consulting at the moment,” Mr Gove said.
Asked if he was “minded to ban them”, Mr Gove replied: “I’m minded to restrict them, yes. And I’m looking at the evidence to see how we can take appropriate steps.
“We’re gathering evidence at the moment and we want to make sure that we can do this in the right way.”
Asked again if he was minded to ban the exports, Mr Gove replied: “I’m minded to take every step we can in order to ensure that we restrict animal exports and safeguard animal welfare.”
Gove has come under criticism since the interview, with outgoing Green co-leader Caroline Lucas writing a condemning tweet.
Brexiteers promised a ban on live animal exports.
Now @MichaelGove says it won’t happen.
This Tory Brexit is built on lies.
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) September 12, 2018
Meanwhile spokesman James West from the Compassion in World Farming campaign said: “We are concerned that Mr Gove appears to be backtracking on his live export commitment.
“On numerous occasions, Michael Gove has spoken about how the government plan to stop live exports for slaughter.
“This morning, when pressed, he repeatedly used the word ‘restrict’.
“The campaign to stop live exports is one that has run for many years, and an issue people feel very strongly about.
“It will be a major disappointment to the majority of British citizens if the Government abandon their plans. Mr Gove must hold firm and stop live exports.”
Mr Gove had previously promised to ban live animal exports from the UK, launching a review into how a ban could be implemented.