Reporting Scotland lie about their own documentary to ‘beef-up’ the bad news for Scotland

Veal? Yes please!

(c) BBC

  • The documentary does NOT say that ‘Scotland is at the heart of a supply chain’ nor that it is a ‘key link’ in one
  • Reporting Scotland made an editorial decision to insert their own words to make the report seem worse for Scotland and the Scottish Government
  • Neither Reporting Scotland nor the documentary mention that young calves are not exported from England and Wales because of the BSE ban
  • The documentary is deeply compromised thereafter when the reporter finds she has been following older calves to Spain and not the young ones which left Scotland
  • Their inclusion of horrific practice in an Egyptian abattoir cannot be convincingly connected to Scottish exports and then they don’t have the courage to explain that this is ‘halal’.

 BBC Scotland have been having a go at that investigative journalism again with their fearless exposé of the export trade in young calves. At first sight it looks edgy and dark with sad images of wee calves no longer wanted by the dairy industry. It is deeply disturbing in places but its attempt to place Scotland in a central role in this global practice, then exaggerated by the Reporting Scotland coverage, is completely flawed with inaccuracies and inadequacies.

Now, I find it all pretty upsetting to look at but unless you’re a vegan, there’s little you can say about it. If you like your cream, butter and cheese, at reasonable cost, then the killing of young male calves is very much part of your world.

I’ve got no problem with BBC Scotland investigating this topic. It’s only when they, once more, try to use their findings as a justification for attacking the Scottish Government that we need to check them out.

Before we get to the big documentary, Disclosure: The Dark Side of Dairy, Reporting Scotland tell us that ‘Scotland is at the heart of a supply chain’ and that it is the ‘key link’ in that same chain. The documentary does NOT use these words. Someone has deliberately chosen them. Perhaps the documentarist knew better or did not share the same agenda. These are animals coming from Scottish dairy farms, going to Ireland, before allegedly being transported to Spain and then, really stretching it, on to North Africa. Surely then, Ireland or Spain is ‘at the heart’ or the ‘key link’ in this supply chain? Scotland like North Africa is surely one of the end points in the chain. That it even happens at all is then put in doubt, in the documentary, as we see the reporter discover that she has followed a truckload, of older calves to Spain, leaving the Scottish young calves in Northern Ireland. She then tries to rely on hearsay to make her case.

Reporting Scotland tells us that 5 000 were supplied last year to Spain and Italy. We’re supposed to be shocked by that number but, as always, there’s no context. Here’s what one of the contributors to my blog had to say yesterday (10th):

THEPNR September 10, 2018 / 9:24 am

‘The Republic of Ireland have exported 189 771 live cattle this year to date, with 148 418 of them being calves. 80% of the exported cattle go to continental Europe, roughly 10% to the UK and 10% to ROW. These figures certainly provide some perspective with the 5000 or so exports from Scotland via NI to Europe. In fact, it is not stated how many may have remained in NI or the Republic for breeding purposes. BBC Investigation once again failing to provide the full picture.’

So, not so much the ‘heart’ or the ‘key link’ in any chain, Scotland is more a peripheral appendage to it, while in England & Wales, farmers are presumably shooting many thousands of young ‘boy’ calves and dumping them, because of BSE risk?



24 thoughts on “Reporting Scotland lie about their own documentary to ‘beef-up’ the bad news for Scotland

  1. Alasdair Macdonald September 11, 2018 / 8:14 am

    My own feelings exactly!

    This was a disgracefully slanted piece by GMS.

    Liked by 2 people

      • John September 11, 2018 / 9:49 am

        Yes , Gary Roberson had decided in every clip “it does not happen in England ” , obviously to make it look like only the terrible SNP would allow it !

        Liked by 2 people

    • Alasdair Macdonald September 11, 2018 / 4:50 pm

      Would you Adam’n’Eve it? Yes, of course you would! On tonight’s ‘Newsdrive’ on Radio Scotland from 4.30pm, the ‘story’ about the export of calves (the ‘boy’ bit was omitted) was repeated with emphasis on the fact that THERE ARE NO EXPORTS FROM ENGLAND. There was no mention of them going to Northern Ireland, no mention of the ban in England and Wales due to BSE, no mention that these 5 000 calves comprise a relatively small part of the live animal trade in the UK and Ireland.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alasdair Macdonald September 11, 2018 / 9:39 pm

        And, now, it is reported that P&O ‘are reconsidering transport of very young calves’.


    • keithffarrell September 11, 2018 / 5:46 pm

      When have the BBC or STV ever been honest. It’s all about using the stick for Westminster. The only change will happen when we get independence


  2. William Henderson September 11, 2018 / 8:53 am

    Disgraceful coverage of a somewhat troubling part of our food supply. We have to ask ourselves if this level of what can only be described as hatred towards the non-unionist cause pervades all of the output of the BBC here in Scotland.

    Also, this documentary and the information supplied on this site raises the question of what exactly is happening to those thousands upon thousands of young animals, un-exportable because of the BSE legacy, in England. For dairy production they must be disposed of, but how? What chain of events follows the killing? To my mind this is of much more concern than the smaller scale scope of the documentary.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Bobp September 11, 2018 / 10:56 am

    The boy calves in england are probably being turned into burgers for Mcdonalds. This would explain why a large percentage of the popultion down here keep voting tory.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dr Jim September 11, 2018 / 11:01 am

    The BBC *investigate* something which is perfectly legal and known about and common practice then present it to the viewers as an *under cover of darkness* expose of dark practices by the Scottish government SNP when in fact what is happening is simple, folk want Scottish produce because it’s disease free and safe to eat and that makes some other folk unhappy that their meat is not deemed as safe or they’d be selling it too

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Dan Huil September 11, 2018 / 11:11 am

    All credit to folks like John Robertson who have the strength to take on the bbc. The bbc is… god,I’ve ran out of ways to describe the scummy sewage which is the bbc’s output when it comes to Scotland. The bbc doesn’t even bother to hide its anti-Scottish views. All I can add is that I’m glad I don’t pay the licence fee [aye, I ken about the bbc being funded via Westminster] but it still brings some succour. Don’t pay the bbc tax!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Astragal. September 11, 2018 / 12:08 pm

    I do not watch tv nor do I listen to BBC radio; I do though, with a very sceptical eye, monitor the BBC news website. My reasons for limiting my exposure to BBC “news” are the corporation’s cavalier attitude to truth, accuracy, impartiality and context as the distorted calf export story evidently exemplifies – together with the corporation’s unflagging efforts to denigrate and sideline Scotland. But perhaps it is to expect too much from a broadcaster whose principle remit appears to be keeping the mob entertained with trivia and vacuous spectacle. For the Romans, ultimately, there was “panem et circenses”, bread and circuses; in its death throes Britain, via the BBC, throws us bake-offs and juggling with facts. From Juvenal to juvenilia. This is what needs broadcast!


      • Alasdair Macdonald September 11, 2018 / 9:41 pm

        Or give us live broadcasts of Juventus matches…..

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Thepnr September 11, 2018 / 1:04 pm

    Looks like the SNP might have something to announce regarding the export of live animals in today’s parliamentary business in Holyrood.

    Christine Grahame SNP will be putting the question:

    “2. To ask the Scottish Government whether it will ban the export of livestock for fattening for slaughter.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Mavis Petrie September 11, 2018 / 1:08 pm

    I’m glad the horrendous practice has been exposed in any case. Just because it is legal does not make it morally acceptable. If it encourages some people to give up meat and dairy I applaud the documentary. I wish Scotland would lead the way towards a kinder world.


  9. tcrosbie20 September 11, 2018 / 4:45 pm

    They will lie and twist and distort the truth for a story. How low are the BBC willing to go. I find it heartbreaking to see them stoop to such depths to find some bad story about Scotland they are desecrate. It is truly disgusting, When will it end.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ludo Thierry September 11, 2018 / 5:11 pm

    I, personally, would not take veal – and would like that any sensible alternatives to bull calves being taken and transported for veal production in Europe be explored – I strongly suspect those involved already do this on a continuing basis. (Some, presumably, will be for fattening and beef production – not all will go for veal. Maybe some will remain on the island of Ireland and won’t go onto the ferries to Europe).

    However, I am not a dairy farmer and I don’t want to ask multiple Scottish dairy farmers to have to shoot their bull calves as the alternative. (I certainly wouldn’t like to undertake that task).

    I looked at the Compassion in World Farming website (the article seems to be from 2015 – and they don’t seem to have updated the export permissions info) and noted that:

    Although not common in the UK, veal farms are widespread on the continent. Around six million calves are reared for veal within the EU every year. The biggest EU producers are France (over 1.4 million calves), the Netherlands (1.5 million calves) and Italy (almost 800,000 calves).

    Due to co-operation between Compassion in World Farming, the RSPCA and the industry through the Calf Stakeholder Forum, more male dairy calves are now reared humanely for beef and the number of calves being shot at birth has greatly decreased.

    There is more work to do – tens of thousands are still shot every year (over 50,000 in 2013) and thousands are exported to the continent (around 6,700 in 2015), mostly from Northern Ireland.*

    *Calf exports from Great Britain are currently suspended to the Netherlands due to an industry-led import ban on British calves. This is due to fears over bovine TB. In 2015, for the first time in years, there were no calf exports from Great Britain. However, this could change and thousands of calves from Northern Ireland are still exported each year.

    We now learn that P+O Ferries are stopping the transport from Scotland with immediate effect (snippet from beeb Scotland site below):

    P&O stops transporting calves following BBC investigation

    P&O released a statement on Tuesday, saying: “We can confirm that P&O Ferries will cease co-operating with the Scottish government to transport across the Irish Sea young calves destined for continental Europe with immediate effect.

    About 5,000 calves were shipped to Europe last year from Scotland.

    Scotland is central to the trade in calves because elsewhere in Britain the ferry companies refuse to carry animals for slaughter and fattening.

    (Given the figures from Compassion in World Farming above – can Scotland’s involvement (approx 5,000 calves per annum) really be described as “..central to the trade in calves..”?)

    The Scottish dairy farming community are now, presumably , left with a very difficult and distressing task of regular shootings from now on – although the transport and conditions of the calves are subject to careful scrutiny and – as long as the conditions are carefully adhered to, the trade is perfectly legal.
    Hope the beeb are proud of themselves this evening?

    Hope the wider Scottish farming community take notice of this little project cooked up by the beeb and ask themselves if they are being well served by the Better Together media?

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Mark Richards September 11, 2018 / 8:32 pm

    I watched this and came to this conclusion immediately. Even their obvious mentioning of “Scottish Government to Catalonia” rang alarm bells of organised biased & plain downright unnecessary exaggerated reporting. The overacting by that so-called reporter was bordering on the ridiculous!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Gary September 11, 2018 / 9:18 pm

    I only heard the ‘headlines’ on this and the heard today that Cal Mac are going to refuse to involve themselves in this due to the reports of cruelty etc. However, this story certainly puts ALL of this in perspective ie Scotland has nothing to do with it, the cattle make two stops before their final destination. Even although I read these stories on a regular basis I’m STILL shocked at just how biased our television news is against anything it can even TENUOUSLY connect to the Scottish Government, SNP or Independence. It’s hard to swallow just how bad they really are…

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Ellie September 16, 2018 / 11:08 pm

    5000 calves from Scotland is 5000 too many. We should not be involved in this horrible trade. There are alternatives – for example pink veal production in Scotland and/or switching to dual dairy/beef breeds. I am an SNP member and Yes activist but sorely disappointed that the Scottish Government seems willing to turn a blind eye to this and other animal welfare issues they could address, including the slaughter of thousands of mountain hares, persecution of birds of prey, needless culling of ravens, and the unbridled killing of any kind of wildlife which ventures on to grouse moors and supposedly poses a threat to the grouse.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s