Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Mass Protest Against Calf Exports Planned

Release date: 
Thursday, March 9, 2006

A mass protest against the export of live calves to European veal crates " a highly-controversial trade with serious animal welfare considerations " is being called for by the UK's largest vegetarian campaigns group, Viva!. With the lifting of the EU's British beef import ban, a resumption of the trade seems inevitable. The demonstration is planned for: Date : Saturday, May 6 Time : 11am to 3pm Place : Dover seafront, near the eastern docks Over 75 per cent of the British public claim to be against live exports and, before the beef ban brought an end to calf exports 10 years ago, mass demonstrations by ordinary people closed export ports such as Brightlingsea, Shoreham and Plymouth and ended shipments from Coventry airport. Viva!, along with many other animal welfare groups, has pledged to bring a halt to exports from Dover with similar protests. Up to 500,000 newborn male dairy calves are currently shot every year in the UK. Unable to produce milk and too scrawny for beef, they are the unwanted by-products of milk production. Due to relentless pressure from Britain's dairy farmers, Europe's ban on British beef and calf imports is to be lifted and, after a 10 year hiatus, these calves will once again be transported to the veal producers in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Many are still using veal crates, in which calves are kept in solitary confinement in a space so small they cannot even turn a round. It is a system considered so cruel that it has been banned in Britain as a result of constant campaigning. "We are constantly hearing British farmers claim that they care deeply about their animals' says Toni Vernelli, Viva!'s campaigns manager. "Their eagerness to condemn calves to one of the most barbaric and cruel systems ever devised gives the lie to that. The Government's refusal to act, despite early pledges to ban the trade, leaves the solution in the hands of ordinary people and we are urging them to join our protest and voice their disgust'. For more information contact Toni Vernelli or Justin Kerswell on 0117 944 1000 or 0797 069 0468.