Letter: If British livestock did not travel ...

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Sir: What would the animal rights campaigners suggest should happen to livestock refused the right to travel? British dairy farmers cannot sell calves to veal producers in Britain as there have not been any since the ban forced on them by the sam e campaigners, resulting in the current export trade. Further meddling in things that they do not understand will only make welfare for livestock worse.

Calves denied export will not fetch a marketable price and may well end up being slaughtered at birth - they are a by-product of the milk industry. Before the campaigners shout "Ban dairy farming", remember this: if milk is not produced in the UK, it will be imported from parts where it is produced less humanely and less hygienically.

Livestock exporters are businessmen as well as experienced livestock handlers. These people are not stupid. They realise that animals stressed or injured during transport are not good for their profits. It is unfair, therefore, that animal transport should be prohibited due to a tiny number of hauliers that are irresponsible. The vast majority of livestock hauliers are far more concerned for animal welfare than the campaigners (hooligans) in the media. This can be the only reason why they have not yet resorted to dumping their loads at the docks and going home empty.

These illogical demonstrations must be stopped or they will be the beginning of the end of a livestock industry in Britain - no more picturesque grazing livestock and no more green rolling fields and hills; all this will be replaced by the plough and a stream of lorries importing livestock products.

I plead with the campaigners - take your fight to where it belongs - the Continental veal units. As a dairy farmer, I spend my life caring for animals and will support the RSPCA in any real welfare issues.

Yours faithfully, HUGH GARDNER Tiverton, Devon 6 January