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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 February 2008, 05:39 GMT
'Cruel' animal transport targeted
Cow on ship
Cattle are being transported from the Amazon to the Middle East
A campaign is under way to end the transportation of millions of animals over long distances for slaughter.

The global campaign is led by Handle With Care, a coalition of leading animal welfare charities including the RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming.

It has released undercover footage, filmed over two years, of "cruel and unnecessary journeys" animals endure.

It highlights journeys of thousands of miles, including sheep transported from Australia to the Middle East.

The coalition says disease, hunger and stress during transportation are killing tens of thousands of animals a year, while many more suffer overcrowded and filthy conditions only to be slaughtered on arrival at their destination.

It wants animals taken to slaughterhouses near where they are reared.

Filthy conditions

It says horses are being trucked from Spain to Italy on journeys lasting up to 36 hours, in overcrowded conditions in which EU legislation is "routinely ignored".

The cruelty these animals endure is completely unacceptable in the 21st century
Philip Lymbery
CIWF chief executive

It also says four million sheep a year are shipped for up to 32 days between Australia and the Middle East, with an estimated 30,000 dying en route.

The coalition also says 100,000 cattle are transported by truck from Amazon ranches to ports in Brazil each year and then sailed into the ports of Beirut in Lebanon. Mortalities are estimated at up to 10%.

And 15,000 pigs are transported over 3,500 miles, by truck from Canada to California and then shipped to Hawaii.

The public is being urged to sign an online petition urging governments across the world to ban the trade.

'Brutal traffic'

WSPA campaigns director Leah Garces said: "We were determined to show people the truth of this hidden and brutal traffic in animals: if you see it for yourself, you just know it must be stopped."

Compassion in World Farming's chief executive Philip Lymbery added: "The cruelty these animals endure is completely unacceptable in the 21st century."

Britain started exporting live calves to the continent for veal and beef again in 2006, after the lifting of a decade-long EU ban imposed to prevent the spread of made cow disease.

Handle with Care says a small number of sheep are still exported from the UK to the continent.

The footage, which includes distressing images, and the petition can be accessed at


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