2013: UK live export investigations
In the summer of 2013 Compassion in World Farming undertook two investigations trailing sheep on their long journeys from the UK to France and Germany.
UK to France
Northern England to Western France:
Estimated journey distance: 630 miles | Estimated journey time: 18 hours
The sheep we trailed were transported an estimated 18 hours from the Sheffield area to the Deux-Sèvres region of France, where they were unloaded into dingy barns to live out the last month of their lives shut away from sunlight and grass. Compassion’s CEO, Philip Lymbery, says:
Many people will be absolutely astonished to know this is going on. British sheep belong in our fields and on our hillsides. The fact that these sheep could be spending a quarter of their lives in squalid sheds, is indicative of the sheer lack of common sense inherent in the live export trade.
The 500 sheep travelled a distance of almost 650 miles in July in temperatures in the high 20˚Cs. Animals were packed together so tightly that they could not all lie down at the same time. Philip adds:
The despicable irony is that these sheep must have gone past dozens of slaughterhouses on their journey. Sheffield alone has three slaughterhouses approved for sheep slaughter. Farm animals should be reared and slaughtered as close as possible to the farm on which they are born. Instead these sheep are taken hundreds of miles to a foreign country in very hot conditions to be fattened in sheds.
UK to Germany
Southern England to Southern Germany:
Estimated journey distance: 590 miles | Estimated journey time: 23 hours
The sheep we trailed to Germany travelled for over 23 hours to reach their final destination – a slaughterhouse just south of Stuttgart in Germany. We gathered the necessary evidence to show that the sheep travelled for so long without rest that the driver had broken EU laws on transporting livestock. However, no significant action was taken against the transporter by the competent authority. The sheep were crammed into trucks and showing visible signs of sickness and exhaustion during their journey. One sheep was seen coughing violently for minutes at a time. The vehicle’s water system was not working correctly – limiting the amount of water available to these animals, who were being transported at the height of summer.
UK live animal exports must stop
Every year, tens of thousands of calves and sheep are subjected to this awful ordeal.Find out how you can take action