Philip Lymbery | Calling For A Compassionate World
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Calling For A Compassionate World

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of compassion is ‘Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others’.

Today, Thursday 14th June, many thousands of people, across 35 countries, from Brazil to Australia and from Ireland to Turkey are coming together in an outpouring of compassion for the animals who suffer during long distance transport. It’s the third annual international day of awareness initiated by Compassion in World Farming to demonstrate global opposition to the abhorrent trade of long distance transport of live animals.

Each year, around the world millions of farm animals are transported thousands of miles for slaughter, or to places where they will be fattened for slaughter. During long distance transport animals may face dehydration, exhaustion, hunger, injuries and in some tragic cases, even death.

The campaign to stop long distance transport has a long history and takes place all around the world. It involves the work of a great many organisations, including Animals Australia and Animals International, who have undertaken significant investigations to expose the suffering of animals exported from Australia to the Middle East.

In the EU, Eurogroup for Animals led the Stop the Trucks campaign, which gained huge support, gathering more than one million signatures on a petition to the European Commission calling for exports from the EU to be banned. Investigations have shown that when European animals are exported outside of the EU, they leave behind them every shred of legal protection they once received. They often face squalid housing, brutal handling, torturous restraint systems, and slow, painful slaughter.

In the UK, I am proud to say that Compassion in World Farming has also campaigned hard and long. The suffering of animals during transport was one of the issues of greatest concern to our founder, Peter Roberts. Our steadfast campaigning, lobbying and protests over the years have led to a significant reduction in the numbers of UK animals exported but many thousands continue to suffer.

Brexit gives our UK government a unique opportunity to act and means it can no longer hide a lack of action behind the EU. The government is currently consulting on a live export ban and we look to Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for the Environment, to ensure a comprehensive ban on the export of live animals for both slaughter and fattening. Some of the most dreadful aspects of live exports relate to animals exported for rearing in conditions that would not be permitted in the UK. Calves, for example, may go to veal production systems that would be illegal under UK animal welfare laws.

At Compassion in World Farming we believe all animals should be slaughtered or fattened as near as possible to where they are reared. The cruelty of long distance transport must stop.

Please support today’s day of awareness on social media and by taking action. Details on how to support or participate in this campaign are at: https://stoplivetransport.org/take-part/

If you are a UK citizen please support a comprehensive ban on live exports here: https://action.ciwf.org.uk/page/24417/action

Please take action now, there are so many ways in which you can help end this awful trade. We all need more compassion in our lives.

14th June was chosen as the date of this year’s Stop Live Transport: International Awareness Day, as it marks the anniversary of one of the worst live transport tragedies in recent times. On 21st May 2015, the Trust1 cargo ship set sail from Romania with 13,000 sheep on board. It arrived in Jordan on 28th May, when it was reported that 5,000 sheep had died from dehydration, starvation and exhaustion. The port authorities refused to unload the ship, which then attempted to dock at other ports before finally arriving in Somalia on 14th June 2015. It was rumoured that all the animals were dead, and were dumped at sea.