ENVIRONMENT secretary Michael Gove has been invited to view Serco NorthLink’s livestock shipping system in person as part of the UK government’s consultation into live animals exports and transportation.
The invitation has been extended by farmers’ union NFU Scotland and Serco NorthLink, who want Gove to “view first-hand the excellent standards of animal welfare associated with the shipment of cattle from Orkney and Shetland to Aberdeen”.
Earlier this month Gove announced that the government would be seeking evidence in view of potentially banning the export of live animals post-Brexit, while it also wants to explore welfare standards for live animal movements.
NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said NorthLink’s cassette style system is an “excellent example” of livestock transport which has animal welfare at the “forefront”.
“The safe transport of animals around Scotland is an intrinsic part of our livestock industry and animal welfare is taken very seriously both for the reputation and quality of Scottish produce” he said.
“Indeed, the assurance schemes under which the vast majority of livestock products are produced extend across the life of the animal, ensuring welfare is protected throughout the whole chain including transport.
“In our response to Westminster’s call for evidence, we will demonstrate how high standards for animal movement – whether set by the EU, assurance schemes or through industry collaboration – are already adhered to.
“The cassette system that is operated by Serco NorthLink Ferries travelling from the Northern Isles to Aberdeen is an excellent example of transport from the Scottish islands where welfare of stock is at the forefront – from loading, to shipping, to unloading.
“Having seen the system in operation, I am convinced that it is an example of best practice in the movement of animals which we would be delighted to have an opportunity to show to the Secretary of State and his officials.”
Freight manager at Serco NorthLink Ferries Kris Bevan added: “The cassette system operated by Serco NorthLink Ferries travelling from the Northern Isles to Aberdeen ensures the welfare of animals travelling by ferry.
“In a process developed jointly by industry and ferry operators, animals are moved on assured vehicles that are properly secured to the ferry in specially designed containers.”
Shetland MSP Tavish Scott welcomed the invitation, saying that looks forward to Gove “being in Aberdeen and recognising that livestock shipments from the Northern Isles must continue using a system that everyone supports.”
Scottish rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing previously said a ban on live exports would cause “substantial harm” to the country’s livestock industry, particularly in the Northern Isles.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 540 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News