Jill Phipps Memorial Day: Green Party Animals spokesperson to join live animal transport demo in Ramsgate as calves set sail
The Green Party's Animals Spokesperson, Keith Taylor MEP, will join live exports campaigners tomorrow [Friday, 1 February] for an emergency demo on the day that sheep and calves are expected to be exported through the Port of Ramsgate.
Friday is also Jill Phipps Memorial Day. Jill was a British animal protection activist who was crushed to death on 1 February 1995 (Age 31) in Baginton, Warwickshire by a lorry transporting live veal calves heading for continental Europe via Coventry Airport.
Animals from across the EU, including the UK, are being loaded on trucks and passing abattoir after abattoir as part of a cruel industry asks for them to be needlessly slaughtered miles away from the farms on which they were reared.
With calf exports recently returning through Kent for the first time in five and a half years, the Green MEP for the South East says it is clear that despite greater opposition than ever and the strongest evidence highlighting the unnecessary and squalid cruelty of the trade, it is an issue on which we appear to be going backwards in the UK.
Mr Taylor, who recently wrote to the Environment Secretary Michael Gove to criticise him for backtracking on his headline-grabbing plans to ban live exports post-Brexit, says:
“Long distance transport is barbaric and the latest resumption of calf exports through Kent highlights the fact that we need a collaborative effort on both sides of the Channel to end this suffering.
“As people come together on 1 February to mark the anniversary of the sad loss of fellow campaigner Jill Phipps, it is appalling to think we are 24 years on from this tragedy and still witnessing the export of calves who are just a few weeks old. Such lack of progression is truly depressing. We need strong action from all the countries involved to end this cruel trade. Despite its warm words, on its own, the UK Government continues to fail these vulnerable animals”
In a recent vote in the European Parliament, MEPs in the Transport Committee backed Keith Taylor MEP's call for stronger regulations including a four-hour limit on live transportation for slaughter and an eight-hour time limit on any live animal transport.
However, in the UK recent developments have seen leading Brexiters in the UK Government quietly water down their referendum promises to ‘ban the live exports trade’. During the referendum, Mr Taylor MEP published a report detailing the problems with the Brexiters - including Michael Gove's - claims on live exports and the EU [Attached].
“In recent months the EU Environment, Petitions, Agriculture and Transport Committees have been working on an implementation report on the EU animal transport regulation. This work has revealed that member states, including the UK, fail, time and time again, to properly comply with or enforce the necessary animal welfare protections. It has also made it clear how impossible it is to meet the welfare needs of animals during long-distance transport. Such evidence must now be used by Governments across Europe to urgently end this trade.”
Yvonne Birchall from Kent Action Against Live Exports added:
“After all this time, we should have found an alternative that works for both farmers and the animals. Not only are the animals suffering for the journeys themselves, but they could then suffer further as they endure conditions that would be illegal in the UK or killed without any pre-stunning. It is unacceptable for animals to have to experience these journeys, some starting in Scotland and ending in Space. We need greater effort to end this cruel trade.”
Tomorrow's shipment will be the third in 2019. In January a calf born on Christmas Day was exported through the Port of Ramsgate. At just a few weeks old the calf had already been taken away its Mum and loaded onto a lorry destined to travel many miles from the farm it had been born.