Unweaned calves, just a few weeks old, are regularly transported from Scotland to Spain. Our investigators followed one of these trucks over a three day period.
The truckload of young calves took more than eleven hours to reach the Port of Ramsgate from Southern Scotland. They were showing clear signs of distress. Crammed into the truck, the calves were crying out and biting at the bars (commonly a sign of hunger and thirst).
A Long, Exhausting Journey
Following hours on the motorway, the calves then faced an exhausting five and a half hour sea crossing to Calais on-board the Joline. The truck then continued by road through France. After travelling for 20 exhausting hours, the calves were finally unloaded at a lairage for a 24-hour rest period, required by EU law.
A day later, the calves were squeezed into the confines of the truck once again, to continue their onward journey. The investigators followed close behind until aggressive behaviour from the truck driver forced them to abandon the trail. From France, these calves may have travelled for hundreds more miles, to Spain or beyond, destined only to be fattened for slaughter on arrival.
Our Patron, actor Peter Egan, who narrates footage of the investigation said: “It is astonishing and frankly unacceptable that in 2019, calves and sheep are still being exported from the UK in these abysmal conditions. Too many animals have been forced to suffer these intolerable journeys for too long and urgent action must be taken now to stop this cruel, outdated trade once and for all.”
Pain, Stress and Dehydration
Every year, thousands of British farm animals face long and gruelling journeys overseas for fattening or slaughter. Forced to travel for hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles, animals routinely experience pain, stress, overcrowding, exhaustion and dehydration. Some even die in these horrific conditions.
“Our investigation reveals the shocking reality of UK long distance live transport, but sadly, this is just one example of the cruelty that millions of animals suffer worldwide, as a result of this cruel and unnecessary trade,” explained our Campaigns Manager Natasha Smith. “For as long as animals continue to face these hellish conditions, we will continue to expose this suffering.
“The UK has an opportunity post-Brexit to end this suffering. It’s time for the Government to take action and enforce a UK-wide ban on live exports for slaughter and further fattening.”