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RSPCA inspectors will be on hand for the export of sheep from the Port of Ramsgate on Monday

07 March 2014
by Mary Louis

Sheep ready for export via the port of Ramsgate

Sheep ready for export via the port of Ramsgate

RSPCA officers will be at the port of Ramsgate on Monday when a shipment of sheep is due to leave at around 10am.

They will be there on the invitation of the Harbour Master and Thanet District Council as the transport of sheep takes place again from the port, despite animal welfare concerns.

This follows many months during which the transport of sheep from the UK to the continent has taken place through the port of Dover.

RSPCA inspectors will attempt to monitor the welfare of the animals before they leave.

David Bowles, head of RSPCA’s public affairs, said: “This comes just a week after Thanet District Council (TDC) were rapped by a high court judge for imposing a temporary ban on live exports following a tragedy in September 2012 in which over 40 sheep had to be humanely destroyed at the port, on the instructions of veterinary surgeons. That incident had highlighted how unsuitable the port is for live exports.”

“It is concerning that Ramsgate is apparently once again to be used to ship live animals intended for the meat trade on the continent when there are no emergency facilities at the port should the animals need to be unloaded,” he added.

In September 2012, Thanet council suspended the trade after an incident in which two sheep were drowned and more than 40 others had to be put to sleep to end their suffering. The director of animal export company Channel Livestock was sentenced last month for causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

Following those events , Thanet council closed the Port of Ramsgate to live animal exports for five weeks in September and October 2012, whilst it sought reassurances about the transport of animals from DEFRA.

Last week, the authority was told it would have to compensate the transporters for loss of earnings during the suspension.

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