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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 May 2006, 00:15 GMT 01:15 UK
Protest against live calf exports
Cow and calf
The exportation of live calves from the UK was banned in 1996
Animal rights activists are set to protest against a resumption of live calf exports from Scotland.

The practice, which was banned in 1996 because of the BSE crisis, will be permitted again from 3 May.

Advocates for Animals fears that calves being reared for veal on the continent will suffer ill-treatment.

But NFU Scotland defended the trade and said its members were being asked to ensure that animals were only exported to farms with the "highest standards".

The ban on moving live cattle over the Channel is being lifted along with the restrictions on the export of British beef.

We believe dairy farmers would alienate themselves from the public if they were to resume this unethical trade
Ross Minett
Advocates for Animals

Advocates for Animals will demonstrate outside the Scottish Executive headquarters on Tuesday morning.

Activists wearing cow masks will present a giant postcard calling on the executive not to resume live exports.

The animal protection organisation warned that exported calves would suffer long journeys and were likely to be reared on the continent in systems that have been banned in Scotland on welfare grounds.

Director Ross Minett said: "We are urging the Scottish Executive to do all it can to discourage the Scottish dairy industry from embarking on a resumption of live calf exports, particularly in light of the executive's position that it would prefer a trade in carcases rather than live animals.

Tight regulations

"We believe dairy farmers would alienate themselves from the public if they were to resume this unethical trade."

However, NFU Scotland said that the transport of cattle to Europe was governed by tight regulations.

The farming union has asked its members to take "an extra step" and get assurances from exporters that animals will only be taken to European farms which operate to the highest standards.

I am sorry to see animal rights groups target a legitimate and well-run UK trade
Nigel Miller
NFU Scotland

This would include complying with a ban on the use of veal crates, which have been outlawed in a number of countries.

Nigel Miller, who chairs NFU Scotland's livestock committee, said: "As a farmer, I know this trade is vital to the industry and, as a vet, I know we are treating animals with the highest standards of care.

"Of course we would far rather see calves reared in this country, but the fact is there isn't the demand for male dairy calves here."

He said the technology involved in transporting the animals had advanced "significantly" over the last 10 years.

"I am sorry to see animal rights groups target a legitimate and well-run UK trade," he added.


SEE ALSO:
Industry welcomes end of beef ban
08 Mar 06 |  Scotland


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