Author Topic: Million-name petition could end live exports - Kent, UK 30.12.2011  (Read 1236 times)

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Million-name petition could end live exports - Kent, UK 30.12.2011
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2012, 05:50:46 PM »
A EUROPE-WIDE petition could help end the "cruel" practice of live animal exports, according to an MEP who met with animal welfare groups on Thursday.

Catherine Bearder, Liberal Democrat MEP for the South East, was at Custom House in Ramsgate harbour to talk with members of Thanet Against Live Exports (TALE), Kent Action Against Live Exports (KAALE) and Thanet councillors.    ​

She said the petition, which calls for animal transportation before slaughter to be limited to a maximum of eight hours across the continent, could close a loophole that lets companies profit by exporting livestock from ports such as Ramsgate.

She said: "The eight-hour rule is good for the farmer, the consumer and, most importantly, the animal. But, vitally, it means we can put an end this cruel practice of forcing animals to travel long distances across Europe in the back of trucks.

"The eight-hour restriction would also mean closing a loophole through which meat can be labelled as 'produced' in a country where it has merely been slaughtered."

The petition has already attracted almost one million signatures.

Mrs Bearder said: "Today showed the strength of feeling on this issue. There is no doubt that with one million people behind the petition the European Commission will have to take notice."

The meeting was also attended by Thanet council's new leader, Clive Hart, who was applauded by placard-bearing protesters as he restated the council's commitment to stopping the trade.

He said: "We are 100 percent behind this campaign. I don't want the name of Thanet associated with this trade, it is the worst, it is absolutely abhorrent and we want it to stop.

"We are currently caught in a legal quagmire but the bottom line is that we are doing everything we can. The previous administration did what it could but we will be stepping up the pressure in every way we can."

Councillor Michelle Fenner, the new cabinet member for partnerships and tourism, said she was exploring all legal means by which the trade could be hindered.

She said: "I want to see how we can impose rest breaks so the use of the port facilities will mean a greater cost for exporters. I will be meeting with officers to see what can be done."

Reginald Bell of TALE has been campaigning against the trade since it resumed from Ramsgate in May. He said the change in council leadership, which was precipitated by the resignation of Councillor John Worrow from the Conservative group over the issue of live exports, will bolster the campaign.

He added: "I think Catherine Bearder is passionate about the issue, she obviously has a clear grasp of the problem. The biggest change, however, is seeing Clive Hart and John Worrow.

"It wasn't our intention to instigate a change in the council and I didn't realise John felt so strongly about the issue. It is good to see Clive Hart turn up and show his support if only his predecessor had done the same."

Between May and October there have been shipments involving 53,123 sheep and 7,717 calves.

The shipments have dropped off in the past two weeks due to bad weather but are expected to resume in the new year.

You can sign the EU petition at www.8hours.eu

http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/Million-petition-end-live-exports/story-14278963-detail/story.html