Compassion is demanding answers from animal health authorities after TB infected cattle were driven hundreds of miles to slaughter.
According to media reports, a Dorset farmer was forced to transport his TB infected cattle more than 150 miles to be slaughtered. This is despite the farmer asking authorities to slaughter his cattle locally.
What makes this journey even more unacceptable is that DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) has said that they prefer to see animals slaughtered as close as possible to where they are reared and regulations state that journey times should be kept to a minimum.
The dairy farmer initially refused to allow officials to take his 14 cattle on the journey from Dorset to West Wales. The AHVLA (Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency) had a contract with the abattoir in Wales which was offering to pay £200 more for the cattle than his local slaughterhouse. The farmer even offered to pay the extra £200 to have his cattle slaughtered locally but was refused. If he had refused to transport his cattle to Wales, he would not have been paid £10,000 in compensation.
Some of the animals were heavily pregnant which would have made the long journey even more difficult for them.
The farmer, Kevin Wallbridge, speaking to Farmers Weekly, said “Clearly people at the top don’t understand what farmers are going through with continued TB testing, uncertainty and concerns about animal welfare.”
Emma Slawinksi, Compassion’s Head of Campaigns and Advocacy said: “It’s ludicrous that these poor cattle had to make a gruelling journey to be slaughtered.
“A journey of this length raises serious welfare concerns. The authorities should be putting animal welfare above economics.”
We are investigating this matter further and are urging DEFRA and the AVHLA to take action to slaughter animals as close to home as possible.