8 York Court
Bristol BS2 8QH
Tel: 0117 944 1000
Fax: 0117 924 4646
14 March 2000
SUFFERING OF BRITISH SHEEP WAITING FOR EID-EL-KABIR
A Viva! investigation has revealed for the first time the
appalling conditions which exported British sheep endure
when waiting to be slaughtered whilst conscious at the
Muslim festival of Eid-el-Kabir. The festival is due to take
place on 16 March 2000.
Secretly filmed video footage taken at Stains and Montreuil
near Paris shows how sheep are kept in overcrowded marquees
and disused railway carriages for days on end in the run up
to the festival. Injured and dead sheep go unnoticed and
some animals are not provided with food or water.
At Stains, Viva!’s investigator found a dead ram with a UK
ear tag lying outside one of the railway carriages. Inside
the carriages, no food or water was provided.
At Montreuil, the investigator saw blind and three-legged
sheep as well as sheep with scab and lameness. All had UK
ear tags. Although the animals in the marquee had water,
they were not provided with food.
"Our video footage shows the callous disrespect with which
these animals are treated in the run up to their deaths,"
says Viva! Campaigner Becky Smith. "These sheep experience
the trauma of being ferried over to France and are then made
to spend days in cramped, makeshift accommodation before
being killed. On Thursday, their throats will be cut while
they are fully conscious and they will be left to bleed to
death. The whole business is barbaric."
Viva! has campaigned consistently against the illegal
killing of sheep, lambs and goats in open fields in France
as part of the festival of Eid el Kabir. Under EU law,
animals slaughtered by religious methods do not have to be
pre-stunned but they must be killed in licensed abattoirs.
In 1997, the French government signing an order revoking
permission for people to kill conscious animals in the parks
and fields of France. But each year officials simply ‘turn a
blind eye’ and allow the killing to continue.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF)
refuse to ban the export of sheep to the festival, claiming
that to do so would be illegal under EU law. However,
Fisheries & Countryside minister Elliot Morley admitted
in February that, "something needs to be done to prevent the
appalling scenes of cruelty to sheep that have occurred in
France in previous years during the festival of
Says Becky Smith, "We call upon the French authorities to
investigate conditions at Stains and Montreuil and to adhere
to EU law by banning the open-air killing of conscious
animals. And if MAFF is genuinely concerned about the
welfare of these animals, they should not allow British
sheep to be exported to the festival."
For betacam copies of
Viva!’s film or further information, please contact Becky
Smith on 0117 944 1000