Business, Freight News, Logistics, Sea

High Court rejects challenge to live animal exports

[ February 8, 2013   //   ]

The High Court has rejected a legal challenge by the RSPCA to stop the export of live animals to the Continent from the port of Ramsgate, according to the Farmers Weekly website. The animal welfare charity had asked for a judicial review after Thanet District Council lifted a temporary ban on live exports at Ramsgate following an incident in September 2012 in which more than 40 lame sheep had to be put down, arguing that the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), which is responsible for checking animals was acting illegally and had failed to ensure that animals were not injured or harmed while being transported by sea. The RSPCA could however appeal against the High Court ruling.

The High Court’s rejection is the latest move in the long and often fraught saga of UK live animal exports, including a move by the local Thanet council to ban the trade. All the major ferry operators have themselves long eschewed the live animal trade (and Eurotunnel has never accepted live animals since its opening) so the sole link to the Continent is the 1988-built, 300dwt converted river vessel, the MV Joline. Many of the Joline’s sailings have had to be cancelled and its top speed is only 8 knots, leading to extended voyage times, especially in bad weather.

However, as the Joline attracts regular protests from animal rights activists, who regularly try to ambush trucks heading for the port, the ferry companies are extremely reluctant to resume the trade as management and staff have in the past received death threats.

A recent report suggested that policing the protests cost taxpayers over £400,000 in 18 months.

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