Leading farm animal welfare organisation, Compassion in World
Farming (CIWF) has
appealed to British farmers not to resume sending calves abroad
following today’s vote to lift the 10-year ban on beef and
cattle exports from the UK by European veterinary
The decision to revoke the ban, imposed in 1996 because of the
BSE crisis, means that thousands of British cattle once again face
harrowing journeys abroad - with calves possibly destined for European
veal production systems that are outlawed here.
“The revoking of this ban by the EU’s Food and Animal Health Committee
could spell disaster for Britain’s calves,’ says Rowen West-Henzell,
CIWF’s transport campaigner. “In particular it gives the green light
for calves to suffer once again the trauma of being taken from their mothers
and sent on long, stressful journeys by land and sea. On arrival, some could
end up in veal crates so narrow they can’t even turn around, a system still
legal on the continent until the end of the year.
“British farmers can voluntarily prevent the resumption of the live export
industry and the misery it causes - we appeal to them to show compassion by refusing
to export their calves.”
CIWF is calling on the public to write to the National Farmers Union, the UK
Dairy Association and to Ben Bradshaw MP, DEFRA’s Animal Welfare Minister,
asking them to encourage farmers not to be involved in calf exports. Unless farmers
do so, CIWF fears that up to 500,000 calves a year may once again be sent from
the UK to continental veal systems, as they were before the ban was imposed.
Veal crates are banned in the UK but remain legal in the rest of the EU until
2007. But even after this, any calves exported from Britain could still enter
other veal systems that fall short of UK welfare standards.
CIWF is convinced that unless farmers opt voluntarily to prevent cattle or calf
exports, mass demonstrations by an outraged public will result. Before the 1996
beef ban, public outrage against calf exports led to huge protests at ports and
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