Veal? Yes please!
- 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?