The UK ban on live calf exports was lifted just a few days ago. The ban was installed in 1996 to prevent the spread of mad cow disease, but cases of discovered disease have since decrease dramatically. While there are still some restrictions (beef still on the bone is a no-no, as is beef containing vertebral material), live cattle born on or after August 1, 1996 may be exported, along with beef from cattle slaughtered on or after June 15, 2005.
On May 5, several hundred animal advocates representing groups like Viva!, RSPCA, and Compassion in World Farming gathered in protest of the live exports. The group marched through Dover, Kent and convened at the Eastern Docks, where the first group of calves were shipped from.
In addition to expressing concern about the cruelty of having calves endure long journeys abroad, the group also protested the shipping of calves to countries that still use veal crates. The use of veal crates is already banned in the UK and is set to be stopped across the EU by January 1, 2007. The National Farmers’ Union has called on British exporters not to send animals to buyers in Europe where veal crates are still in use.