Our investigators were harassed, subjected to vandalism and even faced violence. But, with your help, we will get the message out: long distance transport is hell for animals.
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UK live exports: Investigation report
FRIDAY, 22 MARCH
05:00 (all times GMT) Southern Scotland
After a tip-off that a truck full of young calves is due to be shipped from Ramsgate, Kent, our investigator arrives at the farm where the animals are collected for export. It is still dark, but the truck has already been loaded, and the calves can clearly be heard crying out. When the investigator returns to his car, he finds that it has two flat tyres – the valves have been ripped out.
The truck departs from the farm. Due to the damage to his car, the investigator is unable to set off in pursuit. He waits for a repair, and briefs other members of the team, who are preparing to pick up the journey further south.
16:03 (at least 11 hours since loading) Medway Services, Kent
A second investigative team has advanced to Medway. This is where trucks that are scheduled to sail from Ramsgate typically convene. But not this time! Our team witnesses the truck full of calves, along with two trucks of sheep, drive straight past.
By law, the truck should have stopped for one hour after nine hours of travel. To confirm whether the calves were ‘rested’ before Medway, we have submitted a Freedom of Information request, and we are awaiting a copy of the journey log.
16:53 Port of Ramsgate, Kent
As the trucks stop before entering the port, signs of distress are clear in the animals. The calves are crying out, biting the bars (commonly a sign of hunger and thirst), and suckling the fingers of protestors. The sheep are so tightly packed that they are barely able to move.
17:25 - 17:55
At the dock, the calves and sheep are briefly inspected, and loaded onto the elderly transport vessel, the Joline. Hundreds of metres away, Compassion staff can hear the animals bellow, continuously, throughout this wait and as they set sail for France.
23:27 (at least 18.5 hours since loading) Calais, France
The Joline arrives in Calais and our investigators, positioned off site, can hear the calves still crying out. Our team decides to advance to the lairage (rest point), approximately 70 miles south, where the truck is expected to stop next.
SATURDAY, 23 MARCH
01:58 Lairage, Northern France
The investigators access the lairage and find the calves on site. The driver is in the cab of his empty vehicle. By the time the animals were unloaded, they would have endured at least 20 exhausting hours on the truck.
SUNDAY, 24 MARCH
The calves are now being loaded back onto the truck. A 24-hour rest stop is the bare legal minimum required by EU law. We believe this rule may have been breached, but are awaiting the results of our Freedom of Information request for confirmation.
The truck leaves the lairage, heading south towards Rouen.
02:25 - 03:34
The investigators continue to follow the truck. It appears the driver is aware that our team is following him. He stops abruptly at a major junction and leaves his cab. He attempts to open the door of the investigators’ car, and then tries to break the glass of the window. In serious fear for their safety, the investigators are forced to abandon their efforts to follow the calves any further. By this point, it is almost two whole days since the calves left.
Sadly, the suffering endured by these animals is just one example of the cruelty that – day-in, day-out – is inflicted by long distance transport and factory farming.
Please, if you can, make a donation today to help stop farm animal tragedies.