Animal Exports: Joanna Lumley Sets Sights On 'Ghastly Trade'

First Posted: 05/01/2012 15:54 GMT Updated: 24/02/2012 16:11 GMT

One of the nation's most popular actresses, Joanna Lumley, called on the services of another old favourite today - a London Routemaster bus - to highlight the 'ghastly' practice of long-distance live animal transportation.

The Absolutely Fabulous star and animal rights campaigner made her appeal at the launch of Compassion in World Farming's 2012 £200,000 national bus campaign in Trafalgar Square.

According to figures obtained by Compassion in World Farming, 2011 saw a three-fold year-on-year increase in sheep and calf exports from Britain to the continent - more than 80,000 farm animals in total, according to the charity.

Compassion aims to highlight the plight of millions of farm animals transported across the world every year on journeys it claims can last for weeks with animals being made to suffer unduly. The organisation cites investigations by animal welfare groups across Europe that have found animals being held in cramped, overcrowded conditions with no access to water and sometimes resorting to eating their own bedding while others have been injured or died during transport.

Lumley said: "The numbers involved in live exports is shocking. We need to act on this ghastly trade now. 2012 is an auspicious year. This is the year for change!

"We ask farmers to please find alternatives and we need to make it more lucrative for them to slaughter their animals closer to home. Ask your MEP to enforce an eight-hour limit and stop and think about your food and where it comes from. I urge you all to take more responsibility."

According to Freedom of Information responses from Defra, the only port used for exports to the continent as from May last year was Ramsgate in Kent and Compassion is calling on the authorities there to raise the price they charge.

Joyce D'Silva, Compassion's Director of Public Affairs called on the British government to show the lead in Europe on the issue, urging ministers to "to fight hard at the negotiating table in Brussels to set much shorter maximum journey times for animals in transit, preferably no more than eight hours."

Joanna Lumley Launches World Farming's Nationwide Bus Adverts
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Actress Joanna Lumley, stands next to a Routemaster bus, during the launch by Compassion in World Farming of a new advertising campaign in Trafalgar Square, London. Lumley will launch a new advertising campaign to end long distance animal transportation today. Last year there was a significant increase in live calves and sheep being exported from Britain to the continent compared to the year before, according to Compassion in World Farming. Lumley will unveil the charity's national bus advertising campaign on a Routemaster bus in London's Trafalgar Square. (Photo credit: PA)
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Filed by David Hobbs  |