Animal welfare groups in bid to block calf exports

Two animal charities are to launch high-profile campaigns for calf welfare ahead of the resumption of live beef exports.

The RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming are calling for alternatives to what they call the 'callous' calf export trade, which was stopped in 1996 during the BSE crisis.

Although the ban was officially lifted on 3 May, exporters are keeping plans under wraps, and no shipments have yet been scheduled. However, protests are planned this Saturday at Dover docks. 

A multi-phase campaign will target the dairy and food industries, parliament and the public.

'There have been no live calf exports since 1996, but what many people don't realise is that they were only banned because of the BSE crisis,' said RSPCA spokeswoman Julie Stainton.

'People remember the protests [against live exports in the 1990s] and often think calf exports were made illegal as a result, but this is not the case. We are aiming to re-raise the issue of subjecting young animals to long and stressful journeys.'

The dairy industry will be encouraged to seek alternative uses for surplus calves that do not involve the animals being shipped abroad.
As well as lobbying the Government, the groups will continue activity in Brussels as European ministers make final adjustments to the EU Live Transport Directive.

* PRWeek's NGO Watch on 21 April cited inaccurate media coverage of a Charity Commission report into an  RSPCA campaign. The commission later denied that its report criticised the RSPCA for 'overstepping the mark'. We are happy to clarify this.

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