Animal transport protest under way

A global campaign backed by the world's leading animal charities is calling for an end to the long-distance transport of live animals for slaughter.

The Handle with Care Coalition has today released shocking new undercover film footage of the global traffic in live animals and is calling on governments worldwide to bring an end to this trade.

The coalition includes all the leading UK-based animal welfare charities: the World Society for the Protection of Animals, Compassion in World Farming, the RSPCA and the International League for the Protection of Horses. The coalition said its film showed farm animals being shipped around the world in overcrowded and filthy conditions, on journeys that can take several weeks. Every day, thousands of cattle, sheep and pigs die en route from disease, hunger and stress, it claimed.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) campaigns director Leah Garces said: "British people are growing increasingly concerned about the way animals are treated and I am sure they will be horrified by the cruelty and suffering that can clearly be seen in this new undercover film.

"We were determined to show people the truth of this hidden and brutal traffic in animals - if you see it for yourself, you just know it must be stopped."

To launch the campaign in the UK, animal lovers are taking to the streets of London today (Tuesday) with the symbolic placement of an iconic red routemaster 'campaign' bus in Trafalgar Square.

Visitors to London and workers in the capital will be invited to get on board the bus to view special screenings of the investigative film about the cruel trade and sign up to the global campaign.

Compassion in World Farming chief executive Philip Lymbery said: "The cruelty these animals endure is completely unacceptable in the 21st century. This trade is one in which millions of animals suffer cruel and unnecessary journeys each year. It must stop."

Speaking on behalf of the International League for the Protection of Horses, Jo White said: "Long-distance transport to slaughter is the biggest single abuse of horses in Europe, with around 100,000 involved in the trade. The ILPH is committed to ending this unnecessary suffering and with the review of EU legislation next year, urges the public to demonstrate their objection to this inhumane trade as a matter or urgency."

RSPCA spokesman David Bowles said: "The long-distance transport of animals is an emotive issue and one that people care passionately about. The RSPCA is urging everyone to support this campaign so that we can stop this cruel and unnecessary trade."

The coalition has put its evidence on the web at www.handlewithcare.tv and is urging consumers to add their name to a letter of protest, which calls on governments to stop the cruel and unnecessary long-distance transport of animals for slaughter.

The campaign highlights four of the worst routes involving sheep from Australia to the Middle East, cattle from Brazil to Lebanon, horses from Spain to Italy and pigs from Canada to Hawaii.

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