Animal activists picket over Farmers Ferry

05 August 1998

Animal activists picket over Farmers Ferry

By FWi staff

ANIMAL rights campaigners this morning picketed the headquarters of the Farmers Union of Wales in protest at the unions support for live sheep exports.

About 30 protesters from Compassion in World Farming gathered outside FUW offices in Aberystwyth at 11.30am. They handed over a letter calling on the union to abandon its support for the Farmers Ferry initiative, aimed at reviving the large-scale export of sheep to France.

Farmers Ferry was founded three months ago by five Welsh farmers in attempt to raise enough money to boost sheep exports by subsidising shipments. The farmers are on the verge of gaining control of their own export company and expect to set sail later this month.

“This is an escalation of the live export trade and its important for us to show that the public in Wales are opposed to it,” said the protesters spokesman Richard Hardy.

FUW spokesman Alan Morris said exporting more sheep would stimulate competition between buyers on the domestic market and boost prices for farmers. The FUW was satisfied that the ferry would be run to the highest animal welfare standards, he added.

“That is what weve been assured and that is what we are supporting,” Mr Morris said.

Similar protests at ports across the south of England three years ago forced the major ferry companies to abandon the trade in live animals. Since then, annual sheep exports have fallen from 1.7 million to 437,000.

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