Animal Aid

The Great British Hypocrisy - Shipping Calves to Veal Crates Overseas

Posted 28 April 2006

On Saturday 6th May, Animal Aid will be taking part in a Viva-organised demonstration in Dover to voice our opposition to the resumption of the trade in live calves from the UK.

Ten years ago, the BSE catastrophe saw the trade in calves to Continental veal crates collapse overnight, and animal protection organisations regarded this development as the "silver lining" of the BSE disaster. Despite having supported a ban on the use of veal crates in the UK on welfare grounds, this government has now publicly welcomed the resumption of the trade that will send calves to suffer the exact same fate in another country. Animal Aid decries such hypocrisy and callousness.

British calves are surplus 'by-products' of the dairy industry, taken from their mothers at a few days old so that the milk meant for them can be bottled up for people. Separation of mother and calf causes immense suffering to both. Whilst some female calves will enter the UK dairy herd, many of the males - being too scrawny for beef production - are currently shot at birth. Up to half a million of these unwanted animals will now be shipped abroad each year. After a long, traumatic journey by road and sea, during which young calves are known to fare particularly badly, many will end up in veal crates. These contraptions are so cruel that most British consumers have shunned veal for many years.

In 1995 - the year before the export ban - protests against the live export trade peaked with thousands of people attending demonstrations around the country, particularly at the ports of Shoreham in Sussex and Brightlingsea in Essex. Animal Aid is now calling on the public to take action once again and join the demonstration in Dover.

Says Animal Aid Campaigner Kate Fowler-Reeves:

'The resumption of this unconscionable trade shames Britain. Calves suffer when separated from their mothers, during livestock sales and transport, and then again when they are incarcerated in veal crates for the rest of their lives. We are appalled that the government supports the shipping of British calves overseas where they will endure such cruelty. As well as attending the demonstration in Dover on May 6th, there is something every person can do on an individual level. To save these calves from ending up in veal crates, people should stop eating dairy products. These young calves are, after all, "waste products" of the dairy industry. Without milk, there would be no veal.'

Demonstration details

Date: 6 May
Time: 11a.m.
Location: Dover seafront

Notes to Editors

  • For more information, contact Andrew Tyler or Kate Fowler-Reeves on 01732 364 546.
  • For full background on the trade in calves and veal production, see Animal Aid's new Factfile, called Live Exports: The Fate of British Dairy Calves
  • We have an ISDN line for broadcast quality interviews

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