'EU tentacles' mean that new bill to end 'disgraceful trade in animals kept in terrible conditions' will not apply in Northern Ireland: Sammy Wilson

Live animals could still be sent abroad for slaughter from Northern Ireland despite plans to ban the practice in the rest of the UK, ministers have been warned.
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DUP MP Sammy Wilson blamed the “tentacles of the European Union” for preventing the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill from applying in Northern Ireland.

The bill will ban the export from Great Britain of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses for slaughter and fattening.

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Mr Wilson cast doubt on claims that leaving out Northern Ireland from the bill’s remit would allow it to trade with both the rest of the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The DUP's Sammy WilsonThe DUP's Sammy Wilson
The DUP's Sammy Wilson

The East Antrim MP told the Commons: “EU law will still apply and does still apply in Northern Ireland, and the reason why this particular bill cannot apply in Northern Ireland is as a result of the protocol, and the Windsor Framework and the arrangements that have been put in place.

“Northern Ireland is still in the grip of the tentacles of the European Union.

“That is the real reason and let not the minister pretend tonight that the real reason is he is concerned about farmers in Northern Ireland not being able to sell their goods, their cattle to abattoirs or whatever, or places for fattening in the Irish Republic.”

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The DUP MP (pictured) had earlier claimed it would be “very easy” for the bill to also apply in Northern Ireland, adding: “Just have this bill covering the whole of the United Kingdom, and have a clause in it making it clear that when animals were being exported because of the nature of trade across the border, that a final destination would be stated as to where the animals were going, a final destination in the Irish Republic.

“Because if the real reason for this, as the minister has stated, is to stop the disgraceful trade in animals being taken for long journeys in terrible conditions, with terrible suffering, if the aim was to do that, then it has not achieved that for thousands of animals who have been transported, and still will be able to be transported from Northern Ireland into the continent of Europe.”

Responding to Mr Wilson, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Steve Barclay said: “What the bill does is ensure that farmers in Northern Ireland have that unfettered access to the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland markets.”