The pro-European Union (EU) environmentalist, Stanley Johnson, has admitted that the Leave campaign is “100 per cent right” about the benefits of Brexit when it comes to the welfare of exported farm animals.
Mr. Johnson, father of the prominent Brexit campaigner and outgoing Mayor of London Boris Johnson, has conceded that EU law currently prevents Britain from banning the practice of exporting live animals in horrendous conditions for slaughter on the continent, reports The Times.
Animal welfare groups say that around 50,000 live lambs and sheep are exported annually from Britain. The livestock can spend up to 28 hours in densely-packed lorries, often in sweltering conditions, before being killed in halal slaughterhouses without first being stunned.
Despite opposition to the trade, the British government claims that banning such live exports would be illegal under EU laws regarding the free movement of goods. The pro-Leave Labour MP Gisela Stuart agrees, saying:
“The export of live lambs for slaughter is completely unnecessary. We should be slaughtering animals as close as possible to where they are reared to avoid the stress of a long journey on a ferry, but under EU law we are powerless to act.”
Mr. Johnson, who used to head the Prevention of Pollution Division at the European Commission and now sits on the Steering Committee of the group Environmentalists for Europe alongside the likes of 1970s comedian Bill Oddie, Caroline Lucas of the Green Party, and Baron Deben (John Selwyn Gummer), said:
“On this issue, I agree with my son that Britain lacks the power to do things it might want to do.”
Although agreeing the Leave campaign has a valid point, and despite the fact protests against live animal exports from the UK have been going on for decades, he went on to say he still believed Britain should remain in the EU claiming:
“The way to change these things is to get in there and make sure there are EU-wide rules on these issues.”