RSPCA voices anger against back-door move for live transport

The RSPCA has today called for urgent action after the ‘vile trade’ in live animal exports was sneaked through the back door at the Port of Ipswich – just one week after it was suspended at the port of Ramsgate.

Following last week’s day of horror at the Kent port in which 45 animals died, common sense seemed to prevail after the local council suspended all live transport following strong and constant calls from the RSPCA.

But despite these seemingly positive steps, only a week later, the RSPCA was given last-minute information that plans had been made to transfer the trade to the port of Ipswich.

The RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant warned port officials that they had a ‘duty of care’ to the animals that were converging on the port.

RSPCA officers were immediately sent to ensure that, even though their hands were tied and they could not prevent this barbaric trade taking place, they could at least ensure that no animal welfare laws were being breached.

The RSPCA also pointed out that if there were no appropriate facilities at the port or a contingency plan for handling the animals if a crisis occurred, the charity would call on the port manager to refuse access to the port.

Gavin Grant said: “I, like my colleagues, and all those who fight for the animals, breathed a sigh of relief last week when we heard that there had been a suspension of this awful trade at Ramsgate.

“But now we feel somewhat cheated and bitterly disappointed that this vile trade has just been shifted through the back-door and is trying to carry on at a different port.”


Notes to editors:

Since March 2012 when RSPCA inspectors started inspecting lorries arriving at the port for breaches of animal welfare conditions there have been five warning notices issued to hauliers for issues such as broken water feeders and fans, and keeping horned and non-horned sheep together.

The boat travelling to Ipswich is called the MV Joline, she is a flat-bottomed boat designed to carry tanks across rivers, and can be unstable when she encounters rough weather.

The RSPCA has fought against this trade for well over 100 years.

Ramsgate had been the only British port currently being used for shipping animals abroad for further fattening and slaughter. (cont)

Last week, two sheep drowned, two were put to sleep due to injuries and another 41 had to be shot at Ramsgate because they were severely lame.

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