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Animal Concern Advice Line News

Plea to P&O Ferries

September 11th 2018: Animal Concern Advice Line has made a plea to the Chief Executive of P&O Ferries, asking her to take action today to stop P&O Ferries carrying very young calves from Scotland to Ireland at the start of a long and cruel journey to eventually face a terrible death in abattoirs which would be illegal in Scotland.

Ms Janette Bell,
Chief Executive,
Channel House,
Channel View Rd,
Dover CT17 9TJ

Dear Ms Bell,

I write concerning the television programme Disclosure — The Dark Side of Dairy, broadcast on BBC 1 Scotland last night and currently available on BBC iPlayer at

The programme documents the fate of thousands of 3 to 4–week–old calves exported from Scotland via Ireland to Italy and Spain where they are fattened until they are three months old. Some are then exported from Spain to North Africa where they are slaughtered under horrifically cruel conditions which would be totally illegal in the UK.

These animals leave Scotland on P&O ferries operating out of Cairnryan. As someone who has campaigned against the live export of animals for three decades I have great admiration for P&O Ferries policy on this which is:

"…. we reserve the right to refuse any shipment of livestock if we deem the shipment to be in violation of animal rights. We are only prepared to ship breeding livestock, we will not ship any livestock intended for fattening or slaughter."

On the programme last night a statement from P&O Ferries was given. It read

"P & O co-operates with the Scottish Government on the shipping of livestock from Cairnryan to Larne for onward transportation to the continent."

Your statement is extremely disappointing and disturbing. Statements made by both Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy for the Scottish Government and by the National Farmers Union of Scotland have made it perfectly clear that the meagre profits from this vile and cruel trade offset any concerns they might have about the welfare of the young animals involved.

The lorries carrying these young calves from Scotland to their sad fate in Spain and Italy and, worst of all, in the hellish slaughterhouses of North Africa, make a mockery of your animal welfare policies.

I ask you to act today to fully implement P&O Ferries excellent animal welfare policies and immediately introduce a ban on these poor animals being carried out of Scotland on your vessels.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

John F. Robins,
Animal Concern Advice Line