Hundreds of sheep were forced to endure horrific conditions after being transported to France out of Sheffield.
A charity has called for local farmers to rear and slaughter sheep as close to home as possible after an investigation into live animal exports found the South Yorkshire animals spent up to 18 hours in hot, cramped trucks.
About 500 British sheep and lambs were collected by Dutch hauliers and taken more than 600 miles to dimly-lit sheds in the Deux-Sevres region of France during the height of the summer, the Compassion in World Farming investigation has revealed.
The animals were packed in so tightly they could barely move or lie down.
Philip Lymbery , the charity’s chief executive, said: “On top of the gruelling journeys these animals are often subjected to, this latest discovery will shock many who see British sheep as belonging in our fields and on our hillsides.
“These sheep, which should be raised on our summer pastures, end up in dark sheds for up to a month after highly stressful journeys. This is indicative of the sheer lack of common sense inherent in the live export trade.”
“Sheffield alone has three slaughterhouses approved for sheep slaughter.
“Farm animals should be reared and slaughtered as close as possible to the farm on which they are born.
“Instead, these sheep are taken hundreds of miles to a foreign country in very hot conditions to be fattened in sheds.”
The National Farmers’ Union said nothing illegal had taken place.
A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman said: “We take animal welfare seriously and would rather livestock slaughtered as close as possible to where they are farmed.”