Author Topic: Live exports going through alternative UK ports 14.12.2012  (Read 963 times)

WA Export News

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6669
  • Karma: +4/-0
Live exports going through alternative UK ports 14.12.2012
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2012, 02:35:17 PM »
Animal welfare campaigners have discovered that farm animals are being exported from the UK from a number of ports, as well as Ramsgate.

As MPs debated the future of live animal exports from Britain in parliament yesterday (Thursday, 13 December), new data has revealed ports other than Ramsgate and Ipswich have been used for live exports to the Continent this year, which was previously unknown.

Sheep being exported. height=230A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) revealed cattle from farms in England and Scotland were transported via a ferry to Northern Ireland for export to Ireland or Spain.

On 13 November, speaking in parliament, farm minister David Heath said Ramsgate in Kent was the only port in England used for exports for slaughter and that export consignments were subject to inspection at the point the animals were loaded and at the port.

In the 18 months from January 2011 until June 2012, more than 80,000 sheep and nearly 12,000 cattle were exported from Britain. The majority of these animals were exported through the port of Ramsgate.

But the figures, from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), show more than 1,000 animals going out through ports other than Ramsgate or Ipswich between January and June this year.

The data, from the first half of this year, also revealed young calves being taken on a journey of nearly 100 hours from England to Spain.

Philip Lymbery, CIWF chief executive, said: "Calves are seemingly being taken from England up to Scotland, via ferry to Northern Ireland, on through Ireland and over to Spain via another, gruelling ferry journey.

"I think many British people will be appalled that these young animals are being taken on these nonsensical journeys of almost 100 hours."

Although the figures are low, the CIWF said they raised the spectre of a "furtive return to live exports from other parts of Britain".

The charity also released the results of a new YouGov opinion poll which revealed two-thirds (66%) of the British public would prefer British farm animals to be slaughtered in the UK and exported as meat, with just 6% thinking they should be exported live.

The British public indirectly subsidises the live export trade, as taxpayers fund the policing of ports and inspections of the transporters by government staff.

But 62% of respondents in the same poll thought the companies that export live animals should be primarily responsible for bearing the cost of the trade.

On Wednesday (12 December) Mr Heath announced tougher new rules for live animal exports from Ramsgate following an incident in September when 40 sheep had to be put down on "animal welfare" grounds.

AHVLA inspectors have been told to increase inspections and take a "zero tolerance" approach to any breaches of the welfare regulations where unnecessary suffering to animals is caused.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday (11 December) MEPs urged the European Commission to reconsider introducing an eight-hour time limit for the transport of live animals.

NFU animal health and welfare adviser Catherine McLaughlin said: "We share the view of the European Parliament that improvements in animal welfare must come from ensuring the current rules on welfare are properly enforced rather than bringing in new legislation.

"Restricting journey times to eight hours has no scientific basis and we are pleased to see that MEPs acknowledge this fact.

"The transport of animals is an integral part of farming across the world. It is of the upmost importance to farmers that this is done in a way that is not detrimental to animal welfare, not least from the position that healthy animals are a vital asset for all farm businesses and an essential part of our food chain and environmental management."

Philip Case
Friday 14 December 2012
« Last Edit: December 16, 2012, 02:37:00 PM by WA Export News »