Campaigners Push To End Suffering Of Live Calf Exports

UK - Campaigners will gather again in Dover tomorrow to urge the government to end live calf exports. The trade was suspended for 10 years as a consequence of the ban on British beef exports imposed to control BSE. A year after the ban was lifted and the export of live cattle resumed, 3000 male dairy calves are leaving our shores every week.
calendar icon 4 May 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
A new report warns this could double over the coming years unless the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs takes immediate action.

The report by Compassion in World Farming also provides scientific evidence that long journeys cause two-week-old calves serious suffering.

According to CIWF, young calves are not well adapted to cope with transport. Their immune systems are not fully developed and they are not able to control their body temperature well, so are susceptible to both heat and cold stress. They suffer weight loss and illness, and deaths following transport can be high.

Ninety-five per cent of Britain's live cattle exports are calves, most of which are male black-and-white dairy calves, a by-product of milk production, sent primarily to the Netherlands where they are reared for veal.

Apart from the Netherlands, which accounts for 55% of the trade, Belgium takes 21%, Spain 11%, France 6% and Italy 2%.

Back in 1995, before the ban was imposed, the trade had grown to 426,000 calves exported annually, mainly as a result of the weak pound.

Extreme dairy-bred bull calves, mainly black-and-white Holsteins, are unsuitable for rearing as traditional beef. Systems were developed to intensively finish them as bull beef, but recent increases in the price of grain leave little prospect for profit.

As there is limited demand for veal in the UK, such calves had no commercial value and were routinely shot at birth. "The Lie of the Land", a Channel 4 programme, filmed young calves being shot. Resumption of the live export trade has all but put an end to that practice, as such calves now regularly fetch around £40.

Source: The Herald
© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.