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Lumley backs animal export campaign

Actress Joanna Lumley has launched an "exciting" new advertising campaign to end long-distance animal transportation as animal welfare campaigners revealed an increase in the number of live animals being exported.

In 2011 there were three times more live calves and sheep being exported from Britain to the continent than in 2010, according to Compassion in World Farming.

Lumley launched the charity's national bus advertising campaign on a Routemaster bus in London's Trafalgar Square as it said that an estimated total of more than 80,000 live farm animals were exported in 2011.

Using Freedom of Information data, the charity estimates the total number of sheep and calves to have been exported from Britain to the continent in 2011 to be 79,996. With some pigs and goats shipped last year, the total number of farm animals in 2011 is an estimated 80,664.

Figures from the European Union's Eurostat website show the number of sheep and calves transported from Britain to the continent in 2010 to be much lower at 25,417.

"It's an exciting campaign," said Lumley. "This was so important for us because it means people will see that animals are being transported against their wishes. They can't get off, unlike human beings who can just ring the bell and jump off the bus once they've reached their short destination."

The charity hopes the adverts will highlight the resurgence in live exports from this country and the situation across the rest of the world, where journeys can sometimes last for several weeks.

Investigations by animal welfare groups across Europe have found animals suffer undue strain and stress from travelling in cramped, overcrowded conditions, often with no access to water or food. Some collapse to the floor of the vehicle while many become ill or injured and do not survive the journey.

Compassion in World Farming director of public affairs, Joyce D'Silva, said: "Good farmers want to know the fate of their animals when they leave the farm. Compassion calls on the farmers who still export their animals to find a market for them in the UK and spare them the horrors of the live export trade.

"We also urge the Government 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."

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