Jitters over live trade Sheep traders are worried that escalating animal welfare protests and apparent government sympathy will destabilise the market as home production approaches its seasonal peak. Resumption of live shipments from Wales to the Continent in mid July ­ following a ban imposed when FMD started ­ prompted recent demonstrations. The DEFRA minister responsible for animal welfare, Elliot Morley, has gone on record opposing the live export trade in principle, although he acknowledges he has no legal grounds for banning it. Live shipments usually account for at least a quarter of the UK's annual sheepmeat export volume, and are regarded by producers as having a disproportionate effect on prices. Processors tend privately to express support for abolition of the live trade, implicitly confirming the farmers' belief it inflates prices. The live calf export flow was effectively ended by animal rights protesters. {{MEAT }}