IN last week’s Shetland Times (20.4.2018) Ryan Taylor, in his article on livestock exports, quotes vet Jim Nicolson as saying: “….all sheep, cattle and ponies shipped from Shetland are provided with appropriate space, water and feed. That will ensure they exit the ferry in very good condition.”
If only the same consideration could be given to the live export, or import for that matter, of human beings. While water and feed can be had, “appropriate space”, i.e., enough room to stretch out to full length, has been sadly lacking since Serco took over our lifeline service.
There was a time when those not able to book or afford a cabin and not physically fit enough to spend the night in a reclining chair or “sleeping pod” (Serco-speak for expensive reclining chair), could get a reasonably comfortable night lying down on the upholstered benches in the bars and canteen.
Tory Home Counties are known to use an array of ingenious devices to deter the homeless from camping out in doorways and on park benches.
Serco seems to have taken a leaf out of their book by dividing those upholstered benches into short sections with the aid of wooden-topped metal barriers, thus preventing their “homeless” from having a comfortable crossing.
Cramped into the spaces between these dividers or lying on hard floors they, unlike the sheep, cattle and ponies in their comfy, spacious cassettes below deck, now leave the ferry in the morning in rather less than “good” let alone “very good” condition.