Brexit latest… Your weekly check on how Project Fear is becoming Project Reality.
It has been another gloomy week on the sunlit uplands of sovereign Britain, as a senior minister accused the EU of seeking “petty revenge” – and then hinted that the government might ban imports of European mineral water and seed potatoes.
The grandstanding sounded like a mixture of tragedy and farce, neither of which can now be exported to Europe after the National Theatre revealed that chaos over visas and work permits for performers would stop its plans to tour the continent this year.
The NT had been hoping to tour The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, but now the titular hound joins other animals who are finding their passage to Europe blocked.
The cost of transporting horses by ferry to Europe has gone up by nearly 320%, with trainer Richard Hobson saying his additional costs to transport three racehorses to France now include a £420 charge to clear the Calais border inspection point; £186 for vets’ fees and health certificates and £330 for customs clearance on each side of the channel. He tweeted: “Bravo to those who voted Brexit… Before, I would pay (for) a ferry crossing, an export licence of £50 and a racecourse clearance.”
Twycross Zoo was hoping to send its female Amur leopard Samara to a zoo in Belgium in the hopes of breeding the critically-endangered creatures, of whom fewer than 100 are now thought to exist in the wild, but ironically the import process that existed when we were part of the EU has now become extinct. Curator Neil Dorman explained: “The paperwork that existed before Brexit has literally just vanished so all of those permits now need to be rewritten.”
But there is some good news for 100,000 British pigs for whom Europe would have been their final destination. Red tape means that instead of meeting their ends, they are still being fed on their farms, and even gaining too much weight to be useful. “No-one wants a pork chop as big as a spade,” said Norfolk pig farmer Rob Mutimer.
While Britain’s meat exports to the EU are currently down by half, cheap EU bacon and gammon continues to flow into Britain interrupted because authorities are phasing in customs checks over six months. It’s all a bit of – what’s that expression? – a pig’s ear.
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