October 20th 2018: Following the opening of a new export route Animal Concern Advice Line has asked MSPs to take action to stop the live export of animals for finishing and slaughter.
MSPs have been asked to ignore Party whips and vote to end the live export of animals for finishing and slaughter. The trade in unweaned male calves discarded by dairy farmers has restarted with animals being shipped via Ramsgate rather than Cairnryan. P&O Ferries refused to take the calf transporters to Ireland following a harrowing BBC TV documentary screened last month. The lorries full of young calves are now being carried from East Kent on the small, privately owned ferry Joline. A Motion calling for the end of exporting live animals for fattening and slaughter will be debated in the Scottish Parliament at the end of this month.
John Robins of Animal Concern Advice Line states: “We have asked MSPs from the SNP and Conservatives to ignore party politics and vote to put an end to the live export of live animals for finishing and slaughter. Once out of the UK we have no control over what happens to the animals. They may eventually be shipped to lucrative markets in Africa and the Middle East to be hacked to death while fully conscious. As for taking three and four week old calves away from their mothers - that's just sick. It's especially bad when a Scottish dairy farmer has pioneered a more welfare friendly system which lets the calves stay with their mothers and, when they are slaughtered, it is done in Scotland under our welfare laws. This system avoids the suffering involved in live export and gives the farmer a valuable product at the end of it. The Scottish Government should be very ashamed for supporting and encouraging this hellish trade. Can our Government Ministers not tell the difference between a lorry full of sentient, suffering calves and a truck load of cabbages?”
EDITORS NOTE: Search “Joline ship” for vid and pics of the Joline. Here's our e-mail sent to all MSPs yesterday (Saturday) morning:
To all MSPs including Government Ministers with responsibility for farming, trade and animal welfare.
Dear Member of the Scottish Parliament,
Last Tuesday, 16th October, protestors from Kent Action Against Live Exports and Kent Animal Save, watched unweaned calves, just three or four weeks old, being loaded onto the Joline, a small privately-owned roll-on, roll-off ferry which specialises in carrying lorries full of live sheep and cattle from Ramsgate to mainland Europe.
Ear tags on these baby animals showed they were from Scottish farms. The dairy discards that used to leave Scotland from Cairnryan are now being shipped via Ramsgate.
As admitted by the Scottish Government and the National Farmers Union Scotland, once those calves leave the UK their fate is in the hands of their new owners and, after fattening in Spain or Italy, they could end up being shipped on to North Africa and the Middle East and slaughtered under horrendous conditions which would be illegal here.
We must assume the transport of the animals to the fattening units in Italy and Spain is carried out legally. That may make the trade lawful, but it does not make it right.
There are alternatives to this trade. With just a little investment the calves could be grown on in Scotland on their home farms and then killed humanely and sold and exported as rose or ruby veal as a high value, high welfare Scottish delicacy instead of a cheap waste product. There's more on this on the links below where you will see that a Scottish farm is leading the way on dairy animal welfare.
I do not yet know if the Scottish Government are, as they were with the exports via Ireland, implicated in establishing this new export route. Even if they are not implicated in the current transport arrangements, they are very much in favour of this shameful trade and have promised to keep it going. That flies in the face of public opinion and basic moral decency.
Last year 3,073 sheep, 5,595 calves and 661 cattle were exported from Scotland for either slaughter or fattening. They were exported with the blessing and assistance of the Scottish Government but not the Scottish people.
Motion S5M-13785 on this issue will be debated in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 30th October. I note with regret that the SNP and Conservative Parties have decided to support the continuation of live animals being exported from Scotland for fattening and slaughter abroad. I know that the SNP have already lost members over this.
Animal welfare is above party politics. Listen to your conscience and your constituents when debating and voting on this. Forget about whether or not the transport of the animals is carried out legally. Currently this trade is legal. It is also very, very wrong. Remember that once out of the UK the exported animals may well end up in the lucrative markets of North Africa and the Middle East where they may face the cruellest of fates, being hacked to death while fully conscious.
I trust those Members who own or have shares in livestock farms will remember to declare an interest before participating in any debate.
John F. Robins,
Secretary to ACAL
Finlay's Ethical Dairy: http://www.creamogalloway.co.uk/finlays-farm-home-ethical-dairy