LETTERS: `Smugness' of the Shoreham rabble-rousers

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From Mr Ron Kirby Sir: The RSPCA is totally against the export of live food animals. In, particular we are opposed to the transport of veal calves, which are sent abroad from only a week old to live for months in the dark, in narrow pens, fed only on milk and deprived of roughage and iron. But this is no excuse for the violence that has been seen at Shoreham Port this week.

While the RSPCA, through its branches, is involved in peaceful demonstrations in an attempt to stop the transport of live food animals, we condemn totally the use of violence.

The RSPCA does not, in fact, believe that the troublemakers at Shoreham Port are animal welfarists at all. I personally believe that they are brought in by agitators who want to disrupt peaceful demonstrations and bring the animal welfare movement into disrepute.

These rabble-rousers do an enormous disservice to those who are genuinely protesting. I therefore urge all peaceful demonstrators to march off, as a body, at the first sign of violence. The RSPCA will continue to fight for improved conditions for Britain's farm animals, but we shall do so from within the law.

Yours faithfully, RON KIRBY Chairman Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Horsham, West Sussex 5 January