Ministers under pressure to rethink support for exports of live farm animals as BBC doc exposes cruelty

Scottish Ministers are under renewed pressure from the Scottish Greens to rethink their support for exports of live farm animals as a BBC documentary exposes the cruelty of the practice. 

Tonight's investigation, The Dark Side of Dairy (8.30pm, BBC1), follows an opinion poll commissioned by the Scottish Greens over the summer, showing that three out of four Scots want live animal exports banned. 

In 2016, around 2,400 sheep were sent from Scotland for slaughter to Germany and France and 3,000 Scottish calves were exported to Spain. In 2017, 5,000 young calves were sent from Scotland to Spain in journeys lasting up to 135 hours.

Scottish Greens food and farming spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP said:

“Live animal exports is an issue the public care deeply about, and this TV documentary exposes Nicola Sturgeon's government as complicit in animal cruelty. SNP Ministers decided Scotland’s position with no evidence and no consultation, and we know from opinion polling that they are seriously out of step with the Scottish public.

"Sending thousands of young calves on lorry journeys to Spain lasting up to 135 hours is not the image that Scotland should be projecting to the world when we have an opportunity to become known as a nation that takes food quality and animal welfare seriously. There's simply no way for ministers to spin this issue. I will seek to raise the matter again in Parliament this week, having pressed ministers repeatedly for months, as these cruel and unnecessary transports cannot be ignored."