RSPCA pleads for end to live exports on anniversary of sheep being shot at Ramsgate
An RSPCA spokesman fears a repeat of the mass culling of sheep exactly one year ago today during live exports at the port of Ramsgate.
David Bowles was speaking as campaigners prepare to hold an anniversary memorial at the port, where more than 40 sheep had to be shot after being found to be severely lame on this day last year.
But Mr Bowles said, although exporting of sheep has now been moved from the port to Dover, enough systems are still not in place to avoid a repetition of the deaths.
RSPCA organise sheep export anniversary protest
He was speaking after two French lorry drivers were arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty when a lorry was declared unfit to travel across the Channel on September 12 last year.
The 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.
Mr Bowles said: "I still believe we could see the same problems.
"The journey times are not adequate and the inspection system is not adequate."
He said what had changed in the last year was the numbers of lorries had not reached those of five years ago, which suggested the shipments were not economical.
The mv Joline used to export sheep from Dover docks
But the charity was not allowed into the port of Dover, and only a third of shipments were being checked.
He called for ports to be given the option of whether to take part in live exports, and he called for a reduction in live sheep exports, as had happened with calves.
"I still believe we could see the same problems. The journey times are not adequate and the inspection system is not adequate" - the RSPCA's David Bowles
Mr Bowles was speaking as members of the RSPCA prepared to gather at at the entrance to Ramsgate port today, along with animal export protesters and campaigners to lay a memorial wreath to the animals.
RSPCA campaign manager Eloise Shavelar said: “We will be remembering the victims of live transport.
“One year on from the Ramsgate tragedy we will come together to lay a floral tribute to the 47 animals who died that day, but also to all those who have had to endure the suffering involved in this cruel trade.
“We vow to fight on to bring about an end to live exports but we will never forget those who have passed through the port already.”
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