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Live exports from Dover resume

News Section Icon Published 24/12/2010

The UK's sheep industry has taken a huge step backward regarding animal welfare. Live exports of sheep from the UK have resumed after many months.

DEFRA have confirmed that a ship with a consignment of sheep left Dover for Calais during the night of 21-22 December 2010. Kent Against Live Exports (KALE) issued a press release about the event.

Compassion is working to establish more details about the sheep, in particular their destination.

We will be monitoring the situation and will be campaigning vigorously and doing all we can to ensure that this inhumane trade does not get re-established.

A Defra spokesperson said:

"Because we care about animal welfare we would prefer to see animals slaughtered as close as practicable to where they are reared, and when they are transported we have strong rules in place to ensure their welfare. We will not allow transport unless the transporter can prove they meet legal requirements on journey length rest periods, adequate access to water, and feed. We cannot ban the trade in live animals for slaughter as it would break EU free trade rules."

Compassion in World Farming is totally opposed to any resumption of live sheep exports. The export of British sheep to continental abattoirs often involves immense suffering both on the long journeys and then at slaughter which is often carried out in breach of EU welfare rules.  For example, a recent report by the French organisation One Voice revealed widespread breaches in French abattoirs of EU rules designed to protect animals from excessive suffering at slaughter.

We urge Britain's sheep farmers not to resume this inhumane live trade. Sheep farmers are heavily subsidised by the taxpayer and, if they wish to continue receiving these subsidies, they must be responsive to legitimate public opposition to the live export trade.

Compassion's Chief Executive, Philip Lymbery, commented, "This incident raises serious questions about the welfare of the sheep involved. It also underlines the nonsensical nature of the live export trade; there simply is no reason why animals can't be slaughtered in their country of rearing and the carcases exported to wherever they are wanted. After all, carcases don't suffer; live animals can, and often do."

We believe that farm animals should not and need not suffer

If you agree, please support us today. Your donation could help end all forms of farm animal cruelty and help us stop factory farming in its tracks. We receive no government funding so rely entirely on the generosity of our supporters to prevent cruelty to farm animals all over the world.

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