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Live animal exports protesters from Kent Action Against Live Exports gather in Ramsgate

By Katie Davis

Dozens of campaigners braved the cold this morning to campaign against "vile" live animal exports as lorry loads of calves and sheep came into Ramsgate.

The rally, organised by Kent Action Against Live Exports (Kaale), saw more than 60 people gather at the Nethercourt roundabout from 6.30am.

It came as part of an ongoing campaign against animals, often only a few weeks old, being transported abroad under EU freedom of movement rules.

Calves were transported through Ramsgate this morning. Picture: James Shaughnessy
Calves were transported through Ramsgate this morning. Picture: James Shaughnessy

Yvonne Birchall, Kaale's secretary, said: "Once again because of our wonderful supporters a good sit down was achieved and we were able to achieve good footage of one of the two lorries on this occasion.

"The lorry carrying baby calves came under great scrutiny as the inhabitants were behind closed slats that had to be opened for us to do our job.

"The tiny animals were very thirsty and many people had brought bottles of water, that they drank first to show it was merely water, and then presented to the babies.

More than 60 people turned out to protest against live exporting. Picture: James Shaughnessy
More than 60 people turned out to protest against live exporting. Picture: James Shaughnessy

"From my experience, they appeared more thirsty than normal, the lorry was much filthier than usual and the smell was overpowering."

Campaigners are allowed to hold a two-minute sit down in recognition of their protest.

"The protest was peaceful," Yvonne added. "Everyone realises the importance of looking at the animals and filming them, so anything found can be passed on to the MPs and authorities building a dossier for use whenever we leave the EU.

"We are allowed a two-minute sit down to facilitate this operation and we have spotters right up to the Dartford crossing and beyond to keep us informed of the progress of the transporters.

"The spotters then join the vehicles and accompany them down to the roundabout at the top of the harbour road where the sit down occurs.

"More than 60 people turned out in the freezing condition to aid in our constant efforts to gather evidence against the vile trade known as live animal exports.

"The trade moved to Ramsgate in 2011 and in recent years the campaign has intensified as more and more evidence has been gathered using special cameras and probes to film the animals in the vehicles."

Last year, South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay called for the end of the practice, which he says "does not seem commercially viable".

At the height of protests at Ramsgate, the costs of policing demonstrations for 60 sailings in the 18 months to the end of 2012 was £405,043.

Thanet council went to court to try to halt exports but in 2015 was forced to pay £2.3m in compensation to companies who were blocked from exporting live animals from the Port of Ramsgate.

Read more: All the latest news from Thanet

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