When Compassion’s Investigations Unit came back from Singapore with evidence that 1,700 Irish lambs had been slaughtered there, I found it hard to believe what I was hearing.
Looking at the basic facts – that animals were flown more than 7,000 miles just to be killed on arrival, rather than being slaughtered in Ireland and their meat sent to Singapore – it is very difficult to understand the logic.
Of course, there are circumstances around the live export of these lambs over such a huge distance that will be used to explain why it was “necessary” but at its most basic level it is simply nonsensical.
Add to that the fact that these Irish lambs were slaughtered in makeshift killing tents without the mechanical restraints that are required by law in Ireland and the rest of the EU and without first being stunned, and I fail to see how the Irish government can justify it, as they attempted to in the Irish Sunday Times (£) coverage of our findings.
As our Campaigns Officer, Pru Elliott, said: “You have to seriously question whether taking animals from lush Irish fields and subjecting them to a 7,000-mile journey just so they can be slaughtered can ever be in the interests of the welfare of the animal or even for the Irish sheep industry.”
We have been monitoring the situation in Ireland because animals are being shipped out from there not just to Singapore but to countries in the Middle East and in North Africa. In these Middle Eastern and North African countries, we have seen some horrific slaughter methods being used.
Animals have been beaten, dragged by the tail, limbs or even eye-sockets. We have seen them stabbed and even shot before having their throats cut. Their ordeal is not over when the knife comes down, as the slaughter can be carried out by inexperienced and inexpert people, who slash at the animals’ throats until they let enough blood for them to lose consciousness.
We’re urging Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to stop the export of Irish animals to countries outside of the EU where they face conditions that would not only be illegal in the EU, but often breach even basic internationally recognised slaughter recommendations set down by the World Organisation for Animal Health.
I don’t believe the Irish government can allow the export of live animals, recognised as sentient beings under EU law, to countries where they may face brutal slaughter and simply wash their hands of any problems.
The journeys are nonsensical, the slaughter is often brutal – these animals deserve far better.
Take action. Help us stop the export of live animals from the EU.