16 April 1998
EU must stop subsidising cruelty — CIWF
By Boyd Champness
COMPASSION in World Farming (CIWF) is to call on agriculture minister Jack Cunningham to press the EU farm council to end £200 million-worth of export subsidies which encourage live exports.
Peter Stevenson, CIWFs political and legal director, said: “Its morally unacceptable for public money to be used to fuel a trade which regularly leads to massive animal suffering.”
CIWF claims that taxpayers money is being used to “line the pockets” of exporters who ship cattle to the Middle East under appalling conditions.
CIWF today released a new film which highlights the cruelty inflicted on cattle both during the long journeys and then at slaughter.
The film shows cranes being used to unload animals whose legs and hips have been broken during the journey. In one scene, a bull being hoisted into the air by the horns, comes crashing to the ground and paralysing his back legs. Other scenes include animals having their throats cut while fully conscious.
The organisation claims that European cattle exporters receive up to £200m of public money each year in export refunds. These subsidies are offered to traders as an incentive to export beef or live cattle to countries outside of the European Union and thus reduce potential beef stockpiles.
Around 500,000 cattle are exported in most years. The main exporters are Germany and the Republic of Ireland, with France ranking third. The UK cannot currently export beef in any shape or form because of the global BSE export ban.
A Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food spokesman said there were no immediate plans to discuss the abolition of export refunds at farm council, of which Dr Cunningham is currently president.
However, new animal welfare transport regulations were introduced at the beginning of the year, forcing exporters to comply with tougher rules in order to receive the refund, he said.
“The actual take-up of the refund is moving towards meat exports rather than live exports, which we welcome. And as stricter welfare standards come into force, it becomes more difficult for traders to export live animals,” he added.