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CIWF Calls For End To UK Live Exports

20 June 2011

UK - The live export of sheep and calves has recently started up from the UK port of Ramsgate. Live animal export and long distance animal transport are serious animal welfare problems and Philip Lymbery, Compassion in World Farming's Chief Executive, spoke out against the trade at a protest meeting, hosted by local councillor Ian Driver in Ramsgate last week.

Mr Lymbery says: “We are deeply concerned that Ramsgate is now hosting an apparent resurgence in the live export trade; a trade that is both inhumane and unnecessary. Only this month, three consignments of British calves went from Ramsgate.

"These calves may be only two or three weeks old. They may be sent to the Netherlands or Belgium where they are too often reared for veal in conditions that would be illegal in the UK on animal welfare grounds.”

Compassion is opposed to the live export and long distance transport of farm animals for slaughter or for fattening. Animals can become increasingly exhausted, dehydrated and stressed during long journeys. Some suffer from painful injuries, such as broken legs and pelvises. Due to exhaustion or poor driving, some animals collapse on to the floor of the truck where they are in danger of being trampled by their companions.

Compassion in World Farming belives that the live export of sheep from the UK is indefensible. UK sheep farmers receive generous subsidies from UK taxpayers. Surely they have an obligation to ensure that their sheep are raised and slaughtered in decent conditions. Those producers who are complicit with the live export trade condemn their sheep to an unknown fate.

Mr Lymbery continues: “In the case of sheep, it simply cannot be right to transport animals over long distances simply to be slaughtered at the journey’s end. This problem is not confined to British live exports. Our recent investigation in Europe pointed to the kind of conditions these animals are often forced to endure; transported in overcrowded and filthy conditions, legs sticking out of the lorries and journeys lasting up to 23 hours long.”

MEP Peter Skinner understands the urgency of the situation and supports Compassion, by saying: "Science shows that long distance transport too often causes unnecessary suffering to the lambs and calves. Due to the exhaustion, dehydration and stress on the young animals the level of disease and even death can be high."

Mr Lymbery concludes: “We urge people to join our campaign by writing to their MEPs calling for European action to end the long distance transport trade and impose a total maximum journey time of 8 hours for animals travelling for slaughter or fattening.”

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