All animals deserve to be respected and cared for at every stage of their lives. The UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, and I am pleased to note that the importation of fur products is tightly regulated.
It is illegal to import furs derived from cats or dogs, or products made from them; in addition the fur and skin of endangered animals or fish cannot be imported without a valid permit.
Meanwhile, under European legislation it is prohibited to import furs or fur products from 13 wild animal species originating in countries where they are caught in the wild by leg-hold traps, or trapping methods that do not meet international standards of humane trapping. Strict rules are in also place in the European Union to ensure that animals kept for fur production are kept, trapped and slaughtered humanely, it will be for the Government to consider future policies on this issue, taking into account the outcome of EU exit negotiations.
With regard to live animal export, I am pleased that my Party's General Election manifesto included a commitment to take early steps to control the export of live farm animals for slaughter once we leave the European Union.
I welcome the six-week call for evidence launched by the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, on improving animal welfare in transport and controlling live animal exports. The Farm Animal Welfare Committee has also launched a review into the existing welfare standards for animals during transport.
The call for evidence sought views from across industry, charities and the general public on how the Government might raise standards of animal welfare during transport. I look forward to hearing of the next steps.
Acting on live animal exports forms part of the Government's programme of reforms to cement the UK's position as a global leader in animal welfare as we leave the EU, and deliver a Green Brexit. Other measures include making CCTV mandatory in slaughterhouses, increasing the maximum sentence for animal abuse from six months to five years and writing the principle of animal sentience into UK law.