Thousands of unweaned calves, young cattle and sheep are sent on horrendously long journeys from Ireland to France and beyond every year. The ferry from Ireland to Cherbourg takes 18 hours. Add to this the travel time to the port, loading and unloading time and the continuation of the journey in France before the trucks reach the designated control post where the animals can be unloaded, fed and rested. The animals are then sent on to Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Germany or Belgium. Journeys can last up to 50 hours.
Calves cannot be fed without unloading which is not possible on the ferry. As they are only two to three weeks old and unweaned they should be fed every eight hours with warm milk. Without this they struggle to regulate their body temperature which makes them susceptible to illness. Furthermore their immune systems are not fully developed at this young age. They are generally underweight and unwell by the time they reach the veal farms where they will be slaughtered at just five months old.
Spain exports a large amount of cattle to Libya, Lebanon and Turkey so many calves and weanlings sent there are fattened and exported on to third countries where there is little animal welfare legislation and slaughter methods used are inhumane.
Thousands of sheep are exported in the summer heat for religious slaughter, often in unofficial 'pop up' slaughterhouses where there is no pre stunning.
All transport is likely to be stressful to animals and risks injury, suffering and the spread of disease.
P&O Ferries state in their animal welfare policy that they 'will not ship any livestock intended for fattening and slaughter.'
We call on Stena Line and Irish Ferries to follow suit and stop profiting from this inhumane industry by carrying livestock destined for fattening and slaughter on the continent and beyond.