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Last Updated: Friday, 5 May 2006, 07:58 GMT 08:58 UK
First live veal exports in decade
Veal calf being transported
Demonstrators have monitored the treatment of veal calves
Animal rights campaigners have been at the Port of Dover to monitor the first consignment of live veal calves to be exported from the UK in 10 years.

The cargo ship, MV Toucan, was loaded with animals and set sail for Boulogne, France, in the early hours of Friday.

It was the first shipment of calves since the 10-year ban on cattle exports imposed in the wake of BSE was lifted.

Kent Against Live Exports (Kale) said its members monitored the arrival of four cattle trucks at the port.

Kale chairman Ian Burchall said about 70 demonstrators from Compassion in World Farming and other groups were at the docks.

He said: "We're here for the long haul and it's about getting it across that there's no need for this trade.

"These animals that have never been used to any form of travel, and are only a couple of weeks old, are travelling hundreds of miles in noisy vehicles.

Dover Eastern Docks
The shipment of calves left Dover's Eastern Docks on Friday

"We used to try to block the road but we've learned from experience.

"We really monitor exactly what's happening, where the vehicles have come from, drivers' hours, making sure that the state veterinary service inspects them."

The British beef industry said renewed exports to Europe could see a return to the 650m-a-year trade levels from before the BSE outbreak.

But Mr Burchall thinks it could be priced out by competitive exporters in other European countries who stepped in to take over markets vacated by British farmers.

Kale was involved in the campaign against veal calf exports in the 1990s and has continued demonstrations in Dover on the first Saturday of every month ever since, mainly against the exporting of live lambs and sheep.

This Saturday a full-scale march and demonstration is planned at the Eastern Docks Roundabout in the town.

Protest against live calf exports
02 May 06 |  Scotland

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