Calls To End Live Exports Get Turned Away
As reported by the RSPCA - Haulier was forced to allow the 247 calves on board to rest after risk it would exceed the legal maximum transport time.
We’re making fresh calls for a ban on the long-distance live export of animals, after a lorry transporting 247 calves was turned away from embarking on a delayed ship at Ramsgate Port.
The journey may have taken a gruelling 70 hours
A lorry transporting a large number of young calves set to sail overseas on a delayed ship was stopped on Thursday (10 January). We teamed with government officials to step in and ensure the exhausted animals were taken to a lairage to rest to ensure that the animals could rest before continuing their journey and avoid exceeding the legal maximum transport time.
Calf exports have recently resumed through Kent to the continent for the first time in five and a half years, with journeys beginning in Scotland and destined for Spain. It’s estimated that on this occasion the journey may have taken a gruelling 70 hours (including rest stops).
Current law states that calves must not be transported for more than nine hours without an hour rest period, and not longer than 21 hours before a 24-hour rest. The lorry had arrived at the Port of Ramsgate but because the ship it was destined to embark on was delayed, making the animals’ travel time exceed the legal limit, officials prevented the lorry from continuing the journey, and it was directed to a nearby lairage for the calves to rest.
Our current laws do not go far enough to protect animals
John Avizienius, our ruminant welfare specialist, said:
This is a stark reminder that our current laws do not go far enough to protect those animals transported across long distances.
Currently, transport companies arrange and time the distances down to the minute to take these animals on a journey as long as legally possible, but this week’s journey shows that just one delay can mean a breach of the law.
This is the first time in several years that we’re aware of a lorry being turned away from the port and sent to a local farm to rest. It’s positive to see that the law was being enforced in this instance, but we believe the law doesn’t go far enough to protect the animals.
Until the long-distance live transport of animals is banned completely, we can never be sure that animals will not continue to suffer on these long, arduous journeys across the continent. Currently, sheep, calves, chickens and horses are all exported from the UK, and once they’re off the ship on the continent, we aren’t there to protect them and don’t know how long they’ll be transported.
Having seen photographs of the calves, we have concerns about their hydration and general health and the question needs to be asked as to whether they were really fit to travel?
We want to see an end to this cruel practice
The European Parliament has long expressed concern for the welfare of animals transported for long distances. David Bowles, our assistant director of public affairs, said:
In December the Parliament's Environment, Petitions, Agriculture and Transport Committees repeated that Member States don’t properly comply with or enforce the necessary animal welfare protections and that it’s difficult to meet the welfare needs of animals during long-distance transport.
In a vote on Monday 3rd December 2018, MEPs in the Transport Committee backed calls for stronger regulations including a four-hour limit on live transportation for slaughter and an eight-hour time limit on any live animal transport. The report also demanded a four-hour limit on any transport of unweaned calves and an effective ban on exports outside of Europe, where EU animal welfare laws cannot be enforced.
These calls for reduced journey times, better animal welfare provisions and much stricter enforcement by member states were also voted through by the Environment Committee. However, the EU Commission has always ignored these calls so we need the Governments in the UK to take advantage of Brexit and bring an immediate end to these journeys and this suffering.
We have inspectors located at the port to monitor the transportation of animals and act when they see mistreatment.