Live exports have resumed from the Port of Dover in Kent this morning (2 May) but our inspectors have not been granted permission to enter the port.
The Joline sailed from Dover at nine am today loaded with lorries of sheep for the journey to France and then possibly further afield.
We applied for permission to be present in the port to safeguard the welfare of the animals but received no response.
Our inspectors have been at the port of Ramsgate for every sailing throughout the last year and regularly highlighted health problems with the animals.
RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said:
“The people of Ramsgate did not want to see this vile trade in their town and were relieved when it stopped, but now Dover residents are having it forced upon them.
“People going off on their holidays from Dover port will be dismayed to find out that they are sharing the harbour with huge numbers of live animals being shipped for slaughter. The numbers of sheep leaving from Dover is likely to be much higher than from Ramsgate and the facilities at Dover are no more suitable.”
We will continue to seek an end to live transport
We vowed to fight on for the animals after Thanet District Council lifted its temporary ban on live exports at Ramsgate in November, despite huge opposition from the public and animal welfare organisations alike. The animals are transported over to Calais on an open-decked, flat bottomed converted Russian tank transporter, the MV Joline.
At Ramsgate the local authority had closed the port, which has no livestock handling facilities, to live exports in September following a horrific incident when over 40 sheep had to be destroyed. The port was then re-opened in October following legal action by Dutch exporters.
Gavin Grant added:
“The location has changed but the issues remain the same. Like Ramsgate, Dover does not have facilities at or near the port to deal with emergencies. This trade is completely unacceptable, as is the use of an old tank transporter to ship animals across the Channel in rough weather and the apparent failure to thoroughly inspect animals at the port . Animals are being placed at risk and we will not let up in our campaign to end this vile trade.
“We are seeking an urgent assurance from the Dover port authorities that our inspectors can be present at future sailings.”
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