Author Topic: UK Sheep export shame - lorry load of sheep were lame and none could reach water  (Read 675 times)

WA Export News

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LIVE SHEEP exports have suffered a public relations disaster, after RSPCA inspectors stopped a lorry at Ramsgate Port and discovered that all the sheep onboard were lame and none could reach their drinking water.
The entire consignment of 43 sheep were then put down on welfare grounds, and the local council, Thanet, has since suspended all live exports from the port until further notice.

A decade ago, England's ports became a flashpoint between exporters and welfarists, who argued that there was no justification in a live trade that took UK sheep halfway across Europe simply for slaughter.

Despite some lengthy blockades by campaigners, which succeeded in permanently shutting several ports to live export business, the trade continued through a few choice ports, backed up by industry insistence that its sheep welfare standards were excellent.

Concern over the Ramsgate incident which saw both the float driver and his assistant arrested and bailed was exacerbated by a separate incident when a loading area floor collapsed while sheep were being taken off a lorry, and six sheep fell into the water. Four were rescued by RSPCA officers but the remaining two animals drowned.

Thanet council, which owns the port, said its ban would be lifted after suitable facilities for animals had been built there but added that this would depend on the cost of building and running the facilities and whether it would be a priority for the council.

Commenting, National Sheep Association chief executive Phil Stocker, said: "Incidents such as this risk undermining public confidence in what is an important and legal trade, as well as the wider sheep industry and our products."

"Our understanding is that this incident could have been avoided if regulations and controls, which are effective in the majority of cases, were followed. The law is very clear, for good reason, and insists on only healthy animals being moved via roadworthy vehicles and using suitable loading and unloading facilities.

"The transporting of live animals long distance and between EU states is a legitimate activity but safeguarding of stock involved in this trade relies on rules being enforced in all EU countries," he added.

by Gordon Davidson