David Heath: I’m doing all I can on live exports

A couple of weeks ago on these pages I called on the new Lib Dem minister for farming, David Heath, to ban the live exports of farm animals following a terrible event at the last port to allow the practice, Ramsgate.

Since I wrote that post, another port – Ipswich – has begun live exports.

One of the fantastic things about Liberal Democrat conference, particularly now we’re a party of government, is the ability to question our MPs about the issues important to us. And that’s exactly what I did when I spotted David Heath.

He made it clear he is no fan of the practice of live exports, but that he has no power to ban the practice. What he can do, however, is make sure that the regulations currently in place are rigorously enforced.

This is what he is doing, he said, first of all be ensuring that the right vehicles are used for the right animals (one of the reasons the disaster of a few weeks ago happened was because sheep were being transported in a cattle lorry). He said that he plans to “throw the book” at those who break the rules.

I for one am reassured by David’s words and actions. I’d still like to see the practice banned and would like for us to press for this at an EU level, but for now I am glad that we have such an able Liberal Democrat overseeing this issue in government, and that he is actively seeking to ensure that the regulations on live exports are properly enforced.

(I asked David for his permission to report the contents of our conversation here on LDV, and he agreed.)

* Nick Thornsby is a day editor at Lib Dem Voice.

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  • Matthew Huntbach 27th Sep '12 - 11:50pm

    We have been told by certain people that “liberalism” now means minimal government and an end to regulations, especially regulations that ban things. So shouldn’t those people by coming here now to OPPOSE a ban on exports of live animals?

  • Helen Dudden 29th Sep '12 - 8:45pm

    I agree it seems so cruel, and I simply do not understand why live animals have to be treated like this. Of course they should have the book thrown at them, and taken in a truck for fifteen hours with no food and water.

  • and David has been sold on the idea of killing badgers too… next he’ll be looking at repealing the Hunting Laws.

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