Live export protest taken to London

Animal welfare charities hosted a protest against live exports through London yesterday (3 July), calling on Defra to “stand up for sheep”.

The RSPCA, as well as Compassion in World Farming and Kent Action Against Live Exports, are protesting against live exports, especially in the sheep trade. This follows calls made in May for the government to incentivise carcase-only trade.

Together, the organisations are calling on George Eustice MP, the minister responsible for animal welfare, to: work with the industry to move to an alternative trade in meat; implement 100% checks at the port; amend the 1847 Ports Act so ports can choose to reject the trade.

According to research carried out by the RSPCA, 66% of the British public are “appalled” that animals must travel abroad for slaughtering and 69% believe animals should be slaughtered in their rearing country. However, due to EU regulations, there is no legislation to prevent live exports and it is considered acceptable practice by the farming and meat sectors.

Eloise Shavelar, RSPCA farm animal campaign manager, added: “Despite over 20 years of tireless campaigning against this trade, tens of thousands of farm animals are still being exported to the Continent for further fattening and slaughter each year and these long journeys have shown to cause unnecessary suffering to animals such as calves and sheep. It’s time this cruel trade ended once and for all and Britain moved to an alternative a trade in meat.”

However, a spokesperson for the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said animal welfare standards were already being met: “Tens of thousands of animals are transported at home and overseas each year and transported to a high standard, adhering to legislation. These standards should be enforced by a competent authority which we feel is being done.”

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