One might assume that in this day and age the UK would be a leader in farm animal welfare, given that our supermarkets are falling over themselves to offer 'ethical' meat from assured farms and bragging about how animal welfare is a priority.... but the UK is also a player in a very dark trade that sees tens of thousands of farm animals raised on British farms and then shipped out of the country in harrowing conditions causing them immense suffering and often a lingering death.
Many people are discovering, with horror, the 'death ships' that are part of the appalling live export trade originating from Britain and other countries around the world. The nightmarish ships leave our shores, laden with animals, mostly lambs and sheep, in cramped and inhumane conditions which many will not even survive. On board, packed into crates, they are subject to vile treatment during a journey which might take days or even weeks.
Although the European Union has some minimum welfare standards in place, they are not always adhered to, and the EU resolutely refuse to acknowledge a problem. In addition, some of the animals are transported beyond European borders and end up in countries which do not value animal welfare in any way. These countries include Libya, Algeria and Turkey.
There is much debate around the pros and cons of Brexit, but nevertheless leaving the EU will at least offer the UK an opportunity to remove itself from this barbaric trade and ban live animal exports from this country. This in turn would send a strong message to other countries to examine their conscience with regard to the inhumane trade. Currently, for example, Australia exports millions of live animals every year on long sea journeys to horrendous deaths in countries where animals are treated appallingly. New Zealand halted exports after 4000 sheep died on their way to Saudi Arabia in 2003. Ireland exports thousands of live cattle to countries such as Libya where they are subjected to untold horrors.
Do we, as a civilised country, want to be a part of this terrible trade?
With this in mind, there is growing public pressure on the British government to implement a ban and there is a petition which is gaining huge backing. The government plan to debate the matter on 26th February.
Please sign and share the petition – and together we can get the live export of animals from the UK banned. You can sign HERE.
Meanwhile I would urge those of you in other countries which are part of this abominable live export market to start petitions of your own and lobby your governments to end this appalling international trade.
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