Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Friday, August 14, 1998 Published at 05:20 GMT 06:20 UK


UK

Protest at new sheep exports

Campaigners say the sheep exports are unethical

Animal rights activists are protesting against a new ferry service aimed at increasing the number of live animals exported from Britain to be slaughtered abroad.


BBC's Alistair Jackson: The government wants to ban the trade
The Dover service - due to start on Friday - has been called unethical by campaigners.

The ports and airports from which British calves and sheep were sent abroad to be slaughtered were the scene of violent protests three years ago.

One campaigner, Jill Phipps, was killed outside Coventry Airport when she fell under the wheels of a livestock lorry she was trying to stop.


[ image: Jill Phipps: Died in a protest at Coventry]
Jill Phipps: Died in a protest at Coventry
Attempts to ban the export of animals failed after the High Court ruled that port authorities could not refuse to handle the trade.

The ban on beef exports means that calves are no longer exported, but 12,000 sheep a week still leave Britain.

The trade is worth up to 200m a year to farmers and they insist all their procedures comply with strict guidelines to make sure the animals suffer as little as possible during the journey.

Campaigners Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) said 440,000 lambs and sheep were exported to the Continent last year and the new ferry service will push the 1998 figure even higher.


[ image: Flashback to protest in Plymouth]
Flashback to protest in Plymouth
The CIWF said many of the animals going out through Dover are likely to be sent on long journeys to southern Europe to be killed in abattoirs that use cruel slaughter methods.

Often they will be carried in overcrowded trucks, which can lead to animals getting bruised and injured and, if they fall, trampled on by their companions.

The government is keen to stop the exports, but says banning them would breach European law.

Peter Stevenson, CIWF's political and legal director, said: "We urge Britain's sheep farmers even at this 11th hour to think again and abandon the cruel live export trade.


The BBC's Alistair Jackson reports
"In trying to escalate this trade, farmers are flying in the face of public opinion which is increasingly concerned about animal welfare, flouting the government which has stressed its strong opposition to live exports, and ignoring scientific research which has concluded that journey times should be kept to a minimum."

But a spokesman for the National Farmers' Union said: "The NFU is concerned to ensure that livestock producers are able to utilise all trade to secure markets for their livestock.


[ image: Dover - scene of the protest]
Dover - scene of the protest
"The loss of any market, particularly at a time of such crisis in the rural economy, threatens the very future of Britain's sheep farmers.

"Farmers care about the welfare of their livestock. All livestock exports are subject to the most stringent regulations which are enforced by MAFF."

Juliet Gellatley, founder of vegetarian charity Viva!, said protests could reach the same level as previous protests when thousands of people disrupted ferry sailings at Dover.

She said: "More people than three years ago are willing to come out and do this.

"Their resolve is very strong. People are prepared to stand in front of lorries. That is the bottom line."





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England
Internet Links

Compassion In World Farming

National Farmers Union


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online