4 October 1999
Activists target live export trade

By FWi staff

ANIMAL activists have released another video showing what they claim are British sheep having their throats slit while fully conscious in European abattoirs.

The pressure group Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) released the video to mark the start of a major campaign aimed at banning live animal exports.

It claims that the video, shot undercover by animal welfare campaigners, shows the fate likely to await thousands of British sheep exported live for slaughter in Greece.

Investigators filmed inside three Greek abattoirs. In two, no attempt at all was made to stun the animals into unconsciousness before slaughter.

“They were simply dragged of the truck and into the abattoir where they were forced to the ground,” said a CIWF press release.

“Their throats were cut while fully conscious, before being left to bleed to death.”

Earlier this year, CIWF released a video showing what it claimed were British sheep being mistreated after being exported to Italy.

A copy of the latest video will be handed to the Ministry of Agriculture by Gwyn Prosser, the Labour MP for Dover, who is opposed to the live animal trade.

Mr Prosser plans to initiate a House of Commons debate on live exports during the coming parliamentary session.

Junior agriculture minister Elliot Morley has said he would like to ban the live export trade but is prevented from doing so by European Union rules.

Peter Stevenson, CIWF political and legal director claimed the government could defend a ban under new EU rules which class animals as “sentient beings”.

Whatever the outcome, hard-pressed sheep farmers who have supported the export trade will hope that the campaign fails in its aim to ban animal shipments abroad.

Many farmers, particularly in Wales and the West Country, claim that live exports have eased the pressure on an oversupplied domestic market.

The Farmers Ferry company has exported more than one million sheep since it was set up last year to boost the live export trade.