Peaceful protesters in Ramsgate were up at dawn today to meet trucks carrying the first live animal exports from the UK in over a month.
They were there, as they have been for every shipment from the port, to demonstrate their continued opposition to this cruel and unnecessary practice.
Thanet District Council suspended exports in September following the death of 46 sheep. The exporters responded by requesting a Judicial Review into the Council's decision. Earlier this week they were granted a High Court injunction against the suspension until the Judicial Review is concluded, forcing the Council to allow exports to resume immediately.
The first shipment, totalling seven trucks of sheep, left Ramsgate on the morning of Friday 19th October and it is believed that there could be daily sailings over the following week in order to fulfil an order the exporter has to supply an estimated 75,000 sheep.
Compassion is particularly concerned that one of the outcomes of the legal decision appears to have been a ban on RSPCA Inspectors inspecting the animals. Whilst Animal Health officers from DEFRA will continue to carry out inspections, they may only inspect 30% of trucks, whereas the RSPCA had been inspecting all of them.
Previously the RSPCA carried out inspections at Ramsgate with the permission of Thanet District Council.
Joyce D'Silva, Ambassador for Compassion in World Farming, says:
"We are of course appalled that exports have resumed from Ramsgate, despite the concerns of the Council that they do not have adequate facilities to deal with emergency situations that may occur.
"We are particularly concerned about the large numbers of sheep that appear to be crammed into the boat, especially now that the RSPCA are unable to carry out inspections.
"In the past faults with the trucks have resulted in injuries to animals. If fewer are being inspected, there is an increased chance of harm coming to the animals."
- Call on Defra minister David Heath to end live exports from Ramsgate today.