"Trade in meat, not live animals" was the strong message from Compassion in World Farming staff and supporters who gathered outside Defra's London Headquarters on 14 December. The demonstration was in response to the lifting of restrictions on live exports that were in place following the foot and mouth outbreak earlier in 2007.
Restrictions came to an end after Defra pushed hard for a resumption of live exports, despite publicly stating that it would rather see a trade in meat than live animals.
Compassion in World Farming condemns this cruel trade that involves hundreds of thousands of calves, sheep and other animals being transported long distances across Europe each year. There is a wealth of scientific evidence showing that animals often suffer greatly during these long journeys from heat, thirst and exhaustion. Calves can be just two weeks old when they are exported from the UK, leaving them particularly vulnerable to stress.
At the end of their long and stressful journey, many British calves are reared in conditions that would be considered illegal under UK law: on fully slatted floors and without bedding.
Compassion in World Farming believes that Defra should be pressing farmers to end live exports together with supporting the dairy and beef sectors to develop humane and economically viable uses for male dairy calves in the UK.
For more information on our Stop Calf Exports campaign and actions that you can take to support us, please visit our campaigns pages.