The Government’s Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Service (AHVLA) today released a report into an incident at Ramsgate Port, on 12 September 2012 in which more than 40 sheep, destined for live export to Europe, were killed. The report recommends a number of major improvements to the checking and inspection process used to police the live export trade.
One the same day Kent County Council Trading Standards announced that it would be prosecuting some of the exporters allegedly involved in the events at Ramsgate for possible breaches of the Welfare of Animals in Transport Order 2006. The hearing will take place at Canterbury Magistrates Court on 4 April 2013. Conviction could lead to 6 months in prison and/ or a £5000 fine.
Independent Thanet District Councillor, Ian Driver, and one of the anti-live animal export campaigners said “today is a good day for animal welfare. At long last the Government and Kent Trading Standards are beginning to flex their muscles and demonstrate to animal abusers that there is no place for them in the food trade or anywhere else.”
He added “I am delighted that Kent County Council will be prosecuting some of the live animal exporters for their alleged involvement in events which led to the death of more of more 40 sheep at Ramsgate Port on 12 September. I hope, that if found guilty, these people which be punished to the full extent of the law”.
“I am also very pleased by the Government’s decision to significantly tighten up the checking and inspection processes at Ramsgate Port and elsewhere. This is a big step forward”.“However, I have seen the Government report and, reading between the lines, it’s clear to me that these changes, especially in relation to the number of vehicles checked and changes to paperwork, were all forced on the Government because the system in place pre-September 2012 was flawed, open to cheating and deception. But worst of all the report appears to suggest that the professionals tasked with carrying out the checks (AHVLA staff and Veterinary Surgeons) were simply not doing their jobs properly”.
“None of this awful brutality and suffering documented in the Government report would have come to light, and none of these bleated but welcome changes would have been made had it not been for 100s of Thanet people campaigning tirelessly and demonstrating in all weathers. This is a brilliant example of people power but we won’t be relaxing until this medieval trade is banned altogether”.
The Government report is here