31st March 2004
James Gray rides to Parliament to protest against the export of live horses
Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, James Gray MP, will be riding a horse into the Houses of Parliament today, in advance of a Westminster Hall Debate against the export of live horses. In advance of the debate he said:
“I am very pleased to have been able to arrive on horseback to Parliament today. I hope this calls attention to the purpose of this debate, which is to retain the current ban on the export of live horses to Europe for slaughter for human consumption. Regrettably, the British Government is planning to change the rules on the export of live horses but appears to be unwilling to continue the ban.
“This ban has been in place for 70 years and following yesterday’s decision in the European Parliament, the British Government could still retain it if they have the will to do so. I am glad that Commissioner David Byrne has endorsed the idea. I hope today’s debate will persuade the Government to think again.
“Conservatives demand an absolute ban on the live export of horses for slaughter for human consumption.”
Notes to Editors
- James Gray will arrive on horseback today, accompanied by two other horses from the International League for the Protection of Horses. He will come through Carriage Gates at 1:30pm and will stand outside Westminster Hall for a photo opportunity until 2:00pm.
- James Gray is the President of the Association of British Riding Schools, Vice President of the Saddle Club and consultant to the British Horse Industry Confederation.
- The horse James is riding is a retired ex-police horse called Pascal, 23 years old bay mare. She won Police Horse of the Year three times in 1991, 1992 and 1993. The other horses are called Pepsi, 15 hands, 8 year old cob cross chestnut mare with a white face and Hobnob, 14 hands, grey cob, 11 years old. All three horses are on loan from ILPH.
- Yesterday, European Parliament agreed two amendments to the EC Draft Live Animal Transport Regulations, which if accepted by the Council of Ministers and Commission would allow the ban of live horses for export to continue.
- Commissioner David Byrne said in his closing remarks at the European Parliament yesterday: “The Commission supports the proposal to open the possibility for the Member States to adopt stricter national rules provided that they are compatible with the Treaty. I am pleased that this would effectively maintain the UK’s restriction on the export of horses destined for human consumption. I have consistently said that I would look at this matter with a view to supporting a legally sustaining text"
- Conservatives also seek clarification in the Live Transport Regulations and would like to see a maximum of 18 hours on the lorry, including two hours rest and feeding followed by 24 hours off the lorry, when horses are being transported.
- The last time anyone took up the ancient right to ride into Parliament was in 1920 by Sir Arthur Samuel.
For further information, please contact Natasha Moore on 0207 984 8047 or 07939 105 471.