Published on Friday, April 1, 2011
Lancashire-based farmer Shaun Hyde has swapped his wellington boots for the internet as he launches the first online search and booking system for sheep transportation.
Having struggled with ever increasing costs, EU red tape and concerns over animal welfare, Hyde took inspiration from the dotcom boom of recent years.
Launched to the farming community earlier this week, www.ewetravel.com provides a one-stop-shop where livestock owners can search travel options and book online.
"Essentially, it is a travel agency for sheep,” said Hyde.
“The red-tape surrounding transportation via air or sea is a complete nightmare and I just thought there had to be an easier way, with everything in one place. We even have an advanced online booking system and a ‘review’ system. Feedback from the farming community so far has been extremely positive.
“Affordable travel is becoming a problem and I’m fed up of dealing with lots of different companies who provide woolly information and who don’t seem to care how the animals travel.
“Transporting sheep by air has been even more challenging – airports need the facilities to accommodate them. People might say why do I bother? The sheep don’t care – but I’m telling you now they do.“
A staunch believer in maintaining the highest standards for his traveling flock, Hyde is keen to see BAA's Heathrow animal reception centre expanded.
"It serves its purpose as it stands, but sheep don't like the waiting bit before a flight, just like you and I. I'd like to see the reception become more of a departures lounge.”
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The recent insolvency of Low Cost Travel Group, one of the large players in the travel industry had a big impact on the travelers, hotels and all related players from both wholesale & retail arms. There were about 27,000 people on a holiday who had booked through the company comprised of a €200 million wholesale arm and €500 million OTA / retail arm.