Some of the companies and individuals involved in this trade have a history of criminality. Johannes Onderwater a Dutch national was convicted 5 or so years ago by Dover magistrate’s court of secretly transporting live sheep through the port of Dover whilst describing the shipment as frozen meat. In the 1980s Thomas Lomas, a UK national, was gaoled for committing a lucrative criminal fraud involving the transportation of farm animals. In early 2014 Lomas and his company, Channel Exports Ltd were convicted by Dover magistrate’s court of breaches of animal welfare regulations which resulted in the destruction of 47 sheep at the Port of Ramsgate in September 2013. Lomas and his company were fined £10,000 and Lomas was handed down a 6 month suspended gaol sentence.On the back of the death of the 47 sheep Thanet Council rightly suspended further live exports. After 6 weeks this suspension was overturned by the High Court. Today’s announcement sets the compensation for the 6 weeks of lost trade and the inconvenience caused at £2.3 million plus an award of court costs to the exporters of approximately £300,000. So Thanet Council taxpayers will now have to find £2.6 million which is more than 10% of its annual budget! I have asked for a copy of the High Judgment which hopefully the Council will let me have and I may then be able to provide further details of why the High Court made this extraordinary decision.
One thing which concerns me is that it would have been virtually impossible for the exporters to have lost £2.3million during the six week period in which their activities were suspended. Until the suspension the exporters were only carrying out 2 shipments per week. They must have been transporting very expensive sheep to justify this level of compensation, or perhaps there was another cargo we know nothing about? Hopefully the High Court papers will reveal the truth. Either way I think the Dutch and UK tax authorities should be alerted to this court case as it may reveal interesting information about the financial affairs of Onderwater and Lomas.But what makes me furious is the perverse situation whereby convicted animal welfare abusers are massively compensated for having their cruel and barbaric trade suspended as a consequence of their own neglectful and cruel actions . In my opinion, this is nothing less than the payment of Blood Money to animal abusers. It’s a travesty of justice which makes me so fucking angry. Having said that this ridiculous and totally unfair situation makes me more determined than ever before to fight through peaceful direct action and politically through the UK parliament and the EU to stop this evil and cruel trade once and for all. I hope that you will join me in this campaign.