From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1995:

COVENTRY, United Kingdom––Two months of protest against the export of
calves from Britain to the European continent has so far claimed six human lives––two
British animal handlers and three Algerian crew members aboard a chartered Air Algerie
Boeing 737 that crashed December 21 while returning from The Netherlands, plus protester
Jill Phipps, 31, crushed beneath a cattle truck on February 1 at the feet of her mother Nancy
and her close friend Gill Gates.
“She was obviously in immense agony, but she did not scream,” said Gates. “I
don’t think she could. The silence was worse than if she had been crying.”
Phipps was among 30 to 40 demonstrators who tried to block delivery of 97 veal
calves to a Russian plane chartered by the Coventry-based firm Phoenix Aviation for an
evening flight to Amsterdam. British cattle breeders turned to sending calves by air last year,

after the major sea carriers––Brittany Ferries,
P&O, and Stena Sealink––responded to the
failure of the European Union to agree on
humane transport standards by refusing to haul
any livestock other than breeding animals and
race horses. After the crash, the flights were
interrupted for a month by inquiries, protests,
and the disclosure that they had taken place
without proper permits. A planned resump-
tion circa January 13 was cancelled when a
Boeing 707 cargo jet leased from the Nigerian
Air Defense Command couldn’t pass a British
safety inspection. The flights resumed, how-
ever, on January 26, after the Nigerian plane
was replaced with the one from Russia.
According to Warwickshire acting
chief constable Chris Fox, “The lorry slowed
right down and one protester managed to
climb on the side of it. The vehicle slowed
once more and an officer tried to remove that
person. Two further people ran to the front of
the lorry and a third attempted to grab hold of
the front of the cab. That person slipped and
fell under the front wheels.”
Witnesses said police immediately
stopped the truck, but too late. After Phipps
was placed in an ambulance––she died e n
r o u t e to the hospital––the calves were flown
out as planned.
Phipps, who left a nine-year-old
son, had reportedly turned her home in the
Hillfields district of Coventry into an animal
sanctuary. A martyr’s funeral was scheduled
for Valentine’s Day in Coventry Cathedral.
“Her life will be some sort of water-
shed,” pledged protest organizer John
Curtain. “You can guarantee that after what
happened to Jill, no lorries will get through.
Everyone will come to Coventry now and
there will be a lot of anger.” He issued a pub-
lic warning to Phoenix Aviation owner Chris
Barrett-Jolly. In 1991, Curtain pointed out,
fox hunter Allan Summersgill ran over hunt
saboteur Mike Hill, 18, with a trailer of fox-
hounds. Hill’s death followed that of another
saboteur, Tom Worby, in a parallel incident.
The Animal Liberation Front soon thereafter
claimed responsibility for burning
Summersgill’s home and kennels.
As if on cue, a masked mob
smashed the windows of Barrett-Jolly’s home
the next day. “The lone policeman guarding
the house was kicked to the ground when he
tried to intervene,” boasted the ALF.
There was more violence in
Plymouth, where a senior police officer was
hospitalized with serious head injuries after
he stopped to help a protester who had fallen
with an apparent heart attack and was hit with
a brick. About 200 demonstrators hurled bot-
tles and stones but failed to keep a convoy of
trucks from unloading calves and sheep onto
a ferry. Ten people were arrested.
Demonstrations did interrupt animal
exports from Humberside, Sherness,
Prestwick, Swansea, and Grimsby.
Gates, Phipps’ sister Lesley, her
male companion Justin Timpson, and her 70-
year-old father, whose name was unavail-
able, were all arrested February 4. Gates was
charged with criminal damage to the
nosecone of a cargo plane, to which he had
chained himself. The others were charged
with aggravated trespass and released on bail,
on condition that they not return to the air-
port. According to ALF spokesperson Simon
Russell, who relayed communiques from
England to North America via the Internet,
“Both said they will break this condition.”
Nancy and Lesley Phipps had previous
records for their participation in a 1986 action
against Unilever Labs. Nancy was also
charged in 1992 with helping set up an ALF
raid on another lab, but was acquitted.
Fly-by-night airline
Activists donned black armbands
and continued around-the-clock vigils at the
Coventry airport and other points of departure
for calves, but despite Curtain’s threats and
those of the ALF, the Phoenix flights
resumed just two days later, leaving media to
review a 20-year history of previous unsavory
incidents involving Phoenix Aviation––
including unsubstantiated allegations of ille-
gally flying endangered species from the
Congo to the former Soviet Union. In 1993,
Phoenix pilot Crosby Otovo drew 8 years in
prison for using a chartered Boeing 707 to
import cocaine and heroin from West Africa.
In May 1994, Barrett-Jolley himself went
through a messy bankruptcy; a month later
media caught him flying guns, bombs, and
mortars from Bulgaria to South Yemen in a
Ghanian plane, with improper papers.
“If this is printed,” he allegedly
warned the Daily Mirror, “you’ll be dead
come Monday.” By July, Barrett-Jolley was
flying arms from Russia to Angola. And in
October, he was convicted of theft and suc-
cessfully sued by Lord Jersey in a property
Barrett-Jolley had also been
accused of violence several times during the
anti-animal export protests. In November
1994 he was reportedly arrested on suspicion
of assault for allegedly beating a 67-year-old
protester and smashing the windshield of her
car with a crowbar. He was caught in posses-
sion of the purported weapon, and remains
free on bail. He was also accused of knock-
ing a protester down with his Range Rover on
January 14, 1995, but no charges were filed.
Protest actions escalated on both
sides of the English Channel in the days
before Phipps’ funeral, inflamed in part by
the February 8 crash of a sheep truck near
Gravesend. The accident left a woman and a
six-year-old child critically injured, four cars
damaged, and as many as 200 sheep dead
from suffocation as the truck landed on its
side and other sheep fell on top of them. The
truck carried 450 sheep.
Brightlingsea, the focus of the
biggest actions after January 17, with 250
demonstrators and 12 arrests the day Phipps
was killed, remained at the vortex. Not nor-
mally a cattle-shipping port, Brightlingsea
began handling shipments after demonstra-
tions halted the traffic at Shoreham harbour
and the Swansea airport. Shoreham police
costs exceeded $5 million., while apparently
no livestock ever got out from Swansea.
If Brightlingsea officials thought
they’d have an easier time of it, they were
soon disabused of that notion by a crowd of
1,500 who turned out the first day of the ship-
ments through that port––including a para-
plegic who threw his wheelchair in front of a
cattle transporter.
Day after day, trucks were met by
crowds of people walking slowly in front of
them; police arrested a handful, and the
trucks got through. There were some varia-
tions. A gang of fox hunters showed up
January 18 to taunt the demonstrators. Three
hundred police turned out the next day to
make 21 arrests, the most in one day during
the whole campaign. The police response
was quieter at least on the British side of the
Channel after newspapers published a photo
of an officer kicking a demonstrator in the
head. However, 200 demonstrators who met
a load of sheep arriving February 9 at
Nieuwport, Belgium, were dispersed by riot
police using watercannon.
After Phipps’ death the British
police presence increased again, in response
to the escalating violence. An estimated 500
protesters and 250 police clashed at
Brightlingsea on February 11, as yet another
shipment rolled through after the police cor-
don broke a human chain.
Taking a less confrontational
approach, Compassion in World Farming
reportedly persuaded Irish Ferries to stop
transporting cattle on their route from
Holyhead, Wales, to Dun Laoghaire,
Ireland. Other accounts had it that Irish
Ferries was ordered to cease by the Irish gov-
ernment. The Department of Agriculture in
Dublin issued a statement pointing out that
the shipments via Ireland increased the trans-
port time and stress for livestock, and were
therefore contrary to government policy.
Irish Ferries, normally a very
minor livestock carrier, was the last ferry
company serving Britain that accepted any
livestock aboard. Though Irish Ferries con-
tinued to haul Irish livestock to France, the
discontinuance meant British farmers could
no longer reach Europe by exporting to
Ireland first. About 1,500 cattle had been
moved by that route, Irish officials said.
Air freighters were using the same
route. After flights in and out of Belfast,
Northern Ireland were delayed and disrupted
by demonstrators who set up a roadside
encampment on January 26, some exports
were believed to have been diverted to a
nearby Royal Air Force field.
“The story is as yet without any
solid foundation,” cautioned Gerry
Mulvenna, another of the many protesters
who relayed information via the Internet.
“They may have decided to stop the exports
and just play a teasing game with the
With no calves in sight to intercept,
the demonstrators turned to guerilla theatre in
the airport foyer.
Newspaper polls showed the British
public solidly behind the demonstrators, with
up to 92% opposing live animal exports.
Those who had doubts about the practice
apparently turned against it after the January
6 conviction of three senior employees of
Albert Hall Farms, a North Yorkshire
exporter, for failing to water calves for 37
hours while trucking them through France.
They were fined a total of about $35,000.
The conviction came at a possible turning
point in the action, as the night before an
estimated 1,000 police including 20 riot vans
and a motorcycle squadron broke a three-day
blockade of Shoreham Harbour, arresting 17
demonstrators, whose numbers were report-
edly down from 500 during the preceding
days to circa 300. After the conviction, the
crowds climbed back up.
British farm minister William
Waldegrave pledged repeatedly to seek more
protection for livestock both at home and
abroad, but suffered severe loss of credibility
with the January 9 disclosure that he himself
is a veal calf grower and exporter––and that
his wife Caroline published a cookbook in
1991, a year after Britain outlawed the veal
crate, containing 13 recipes for veal with the
recommendation that cooks buy their veal
from The Netherlands, where the crates
remain in use. He reportedly received a num-
ber of letters filled with razor blades during
the next few days, while police maintained
an around-the-clock watch at his home. The
Royal SPCA attacked Waldegrave’s proposed
domestic reforms as “incomplete”––but on
February 8 the beleaguered minister finally
did get some respect, albeit from Greece.
After reviewing RSPCA videotapes forward-
ed by Waldegrave, which showed fully con-
scious sheep, goats, and pigs bleeding to
death in Greek slaughterhouses. the Greek
agriculture ministry pledged an investigation.
In Parliament, a private member’s
bill to halt the export of British calves for
veal––rated little chance of passage because it
lacked Government support––was filibustered
to death by Conservatives Oliver Heald, who
read from an encyclopedia, and Peter
Atkinson, who read from a telephone book.
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