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Live export firm Channel Livestock Ltd and owner Thomas Lomas fined thousands after sheep die in live exports from Ramsgate

13 February 2014
by Emily Stott

A company and its boss have been fined thousands of pounds after dozens of sheep had to be slaughtered after being found severely lame during live exports.

It comes after a mass culling of sheep in September 2012 at the port of Ramsgate.

More than 40 sheep had to be shot after being found to be badly lame during export on lorries.

Thomas Lomas was given a suspended sentence

Thomas Lomas was given a suspended sentence

One lorry was found to have faults and the sheep were unloaded to a holding pen while an alternative truck was found.

Two sheep, one with a broken leg, were put down and more than 40 other sheep also had to be shot after a vet found they were severely lame.

In a further tragedy, sheep were loaded into an area where the floor then collapsed – six sheep fell into the water and four were rescued by nearby RSPCA officers, but two of the animals drowned.

Dozens of sheep either died or were put down because of injuries after being crammed into a lorry. Picture Mike Pett

Dozens of sheep either died or were put down because of injuries after being crammed into a lorry. Picture Mike Pett

Thomas Lomas, owner of Channel Livestock Ltd, was sentenced to six months behind bars, suspended for two years, on two charges at Dover magistrates court today.

The charges are that he caused sheep to be transported in a way likely to cause injury and suffering, and that he failed to ensure the animals were transported safely.

As well as the concurrent sentences he was ordered to pay a £5,000 fine and a £15 victim surcharge.

His company was ordered to pay £4,000 and £10,000 costs for the same offences.

Gavin Grant, chief executive of the RSPCA said: “The RSPCA is pleased that justice has now been done and that the horrific nature of this trade has been exposed.

"It’s time this dire trade was examined by Parliament.

Sheep ready for export via the port of Ramsgate

Sheep ready for export via the port of Ramsgate

“The 40 sheep that died that day were badly let down by all those responsible for them.

"They were loaded into a  dangerous lorry and trapped their legs causing broken and dislocated bones.

"When vets examined the flock they discovered many more not fit to travel because they were suffering from painful conditions such as foot rot.

“It is clear that if you are a trader or transporter you have a legal obligation and strict liability to ensure the welfare of your animals is guaranteed and unless a trader is able to do this it is better for the them to go with the carcass trade.”

He said RSPCA inspectors on duty that day had to deal with the horrors of putting these poor sheep out of their misery. 

The two drivers Gerard Andre and Dimitri Dessaud will be sentenced at Folkestone on March 17.  

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