According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), more than two-thirds of all sheep and lambs arrive at the slaughterhouse with serious physical injuries, and annually about a million chickens are maimed when their heads and legs get stuck between the bars of the cages, during transportation. I have seen sheep and calves loaded in such large numbers that their legs stick out of the truck vents; animals trample each other to death.
For animals exported abroad, this horrific journey can take place by plane, ferry or ship, sometimes during heavy storms. Conditions for such transport can be particularly poor due to poor ventilation, which leads to overheating of the premises and as a result, many animals die of heart attack or thirst. How exported animals are treated is no secret. Many people have witnessed this treatment, and some have even filmed it as evidence. But you don’t have to use a hidden camera to film animal abuse, anyone can see it.
I saw sheep being beaten with all their force in the face because they were too scared to jump off the back of a truck. I saw how they were forced to jump from the upper tier of the truck (which was at a height of about two meters) to the ground with blows and kicks, because the loaders were too lazy to put up a ramp. I saw how they broke their legs as they jumped to the ground, and how they were then dragged off and killed in the slaughterhouse. I saw how pigs were beaten in the face with iron rods and their noses were broken because they were biting each other out of fear, and one person explained, “So they don’t even think about biting anymore.”
But perhaps the most horrific sight I have ever seen was a film made by the Compassionate World Farming organization, which showed what happened to a young bull that had a broken pelvic bone while being transported on a ship, and which did not could stand. A 70000 volt electric wire was connected to his genitals to make him stand. When people do this to other people, it’s called torture, and the whole world condemns it.
For about half an hour, I forced myself to watch how people continued to mock the crippled animal, and every time they let an electric discharge, the bull roared in pain and tried to get on its feet. In the end, a chain was tied to the bull’s leg and dragged with a crane, periodically dropping it onto the pier. There was an argument between the captain of the ship and the harbormaster, and the bull was picked up and thrown back on the deck of the ship, he was still alive, but already unconscious. When the ship was leaving the port, the poor animal was thrown into the water and drowned.
Officials from the UK judiciary say that such treatment of animals is quite legal and argue that in all European countries there are provisions that determine the conditions for transporting animals. They also claim that officials are checking the living conditions and treatment of animals. However, what is written on paper and what actually happens are completely different things. The truth is that the people who were supposed to carry out the checks admit that they have never done a single check, in any country in Europe. The European Commission confirmed this in a report to the European Parliament.
In 1995, many people in the UK were so outraged by human trafficking that they took to the streets to protest. They have held protests at ports and airports such as Shoram, Brightlingsea, Dover and Coventry, where animals are loaded onto ships and sent to other countries. They even tried to block the way for trucks transporting lambs, sheep and calves to ports and airports. Despite the fact that public opinion supported the protesters, the UK government refused to ban this kind of trade. Instead, it announced that the European Union has adopted regulations that will regulate the movement of animals across Europe. In fact, it was just an official acceptance and approval of what was happening.
For example, under the new regulations, sheep could be transported for 28 hours non-stop, just long enough for a truck to cross Europe from north to south. There were no proposals to improve the quality of checks, so that even carriers can continue to violate the new rules of transportation, still no one will control them. However, the protests against human trafficking did not stop. Some of the protesters have chosen to continue fighting by filing lawsuits against the British government, including the European Court of Justice.
Others continued to protest at ports, airports and animal farms. Many were still trying to show what a terrible state the exported animals were in. As a result of all these efforts, most likely, the export of live goods from Britain to Europe will be stopped. Ironically, the deadly rabies beef disease scandal in 1996 helped stop UK exports of calves. The British government finally acknowledged that people who ate beef contaminated with rabies, which was a very common herd disease in the UK, were at risk, and it is not surprising that other countries have refused to buy cattle from the UK. However, it is unlikely that trade between European countries will stop in the foreseeable future. Pigs will still be shipped from Holland to Italy, and calves from Italy to special factories in Holland. Their meat will be sold in the UK and around the world. This trade will be a grave sin for those who eat meat.