A BAN on live animal exports would cause “substantial harm” to Scotland’s livestock sector, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said.

While the UK Government was ready to ban all live exports of farm animals, Ewing said Scotland would not be participating in any such scheme.

Ewing said: “Let me be absolutely clear, this is one UK-wide framework the Scottish Government will not be participating in. I will not support anything that creates further challenges or difficulty for our farming sector or puts Scottish agriculture at a disadvantage.

“Any such move, would potentially do substantial harm to our quality livestock sector, not least farming in the Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney, as well as trade with Northern Ireland.”

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “We have a clear manifesto commitment to take early steps to control the export of live farm animals for slaughter as we leave the EU and are considering all options.”