FARMERS have hit back at activists who want to ban live animal exports in the UK.
They say the move would destroy the livestock industry if it went ahead.
Farmers went on the offensive after dozens of animals rights activists gathered in Ramsgate on the south coast of England to protest against live animals exports to Europe.
But farmers said that the foreign trade from exports is vital for business.
Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association, said that an export ban could not be justified based on distance travelled because some animals made shorter journeys to French and Belgian abattoirs than to those in the UK.
And John Royle, chief livestock adviser to the National Farmers’ Union, added: “We support live exports for slaughter if it’s regulated properly.”
The government has hinted it could move to end live animal exports once the UK leaves the European Union.
Environment secretary Michael Gove said in July that exiting the EU would enable the UK to insist on higher environmental and welfare standards.