A police motorcade led by outrider bikes and flashing lights sweeps into the East Anglian town of Ipswich destined for the docks. The whirr of a police helicopter accompanies the small crowd gathered hastily to meet the procession. It’s a blustery September evening and the excitement is fuelled by the scramble of media cameras desperate for a picture. But this is no celebrity exit from the country. Interspersed between police vehicles are six livestock transporters carrying sheep destined for slaughter on the continent. It’s the latest move in a game of cat and mouse stretching nearly twenty years; between live animal exporters and the protests that follow them.
Banner-waving protestors yell into the night as the four-tier juggernauts disappear into the gloom. A former Soviet tank carrier awaits by the dockside for its cargo. It’s Friday 21st September. Our team, led by James West, is with local people indignant at the invasion of this town by the trade. This is the first shipment of live animals for slaughter out of Britain since the exporters were summarily thrown out of their last port following an incident involving two arrests and the deaths of over forty sheep.
Many people have spent much energy trying to stop animals being transported on horrifically long journeys simply to be slaughtered at journey’s end. I am proud to have been one of them. Today, the trade is but a stubborn rump of what it used to be; twenty years ago, two and half million animals were shipped out of Britain each year. Now it’s less than a hundred thousand. It’s a trade with a profile and a reputation to match.
With it pinned down to just one port, Ipswich; owned and operated by ABP, I ask for your help in ramping up the pressure to drive the trade in live exports out of its latest bolt hole. Together, we can finish off this deeply unnecessary trade once and for all. Take action today. As ever, thank you so much.