Although a large majority of people are opposed to this awful trade, most of us, myself included, have never thought about how much it costs and the fact that all of us are contributing towards a large public subsidy which pays for this medieval barbarism to take place. In the table below I’ve estimated that it has cost at least £11million to facilitate the export of about 250,000 animals from Ramsgate over the past 6 years. This large amount of money has come from council and tax and general tax payments and works out to be the equivalent of a publically funded subsidy of £44 for every animal exported from Ramsgate over the past 6 years. My estimated figures are probably on the low side and its very likely that the actual figures are much higher. Either way I think that its totally unacceptable for UK taxpayers to have pay £11million to support a nasty and cruel trade which most of them would strongly disagree with.
But what worries me most about the forthcoming live exports shipments, is emerging evidence that the existing laws and regulations which are supposed to protect animals during transportation, appear not to have been enforced at Ramsgate. Many of us involved in the protests against live animal exports from Ramsgate have long suspected that the civil servants tasked with enforcing animal transportation welfare regulations were, shall we politely say, not as enthusiastic as they could have been in carrying out their jobs. Now evidence is emerging which confirms our suspicions. According to a comprehensive report published by animal welfare charity Compassion In World Farming
· Welfare inspections carried out by the Government’s Animal Plant Health Agency are “not being carried our properly” with unsuitable vehicles being used for animal transport: stocking densities of the transported animals being too high; failure to cross check and verify animal transport documents; failure to check vehicles before loading
· Government vets unaware of the length and nature of the journeys to be undertaken by the animals they are checking
· 8 Journey’s which did not comply with animal transport regulations were approved by government officials
· Extensive changes to authorised journey plans
· Official documentation not completed and poor/ inaccurate completion of documentationThis report clearly demonstrates that many of the official checks which supposedly ensure the welfare of farm animals being transported long distances, are either not being carried out, or being carried out insufficiently or improperly. This lack of scrutiny means that hundreds of thousands of sheep passing through Ramsgate Port over the past 6 years, have been transported in unacceptably cruel and brutal conditions and that future shipments are also likely to be inadequately checked and managed by government officials leading to yet more avoidable and unnecessary cruelty.
Kent County Council (KCC) has the legal power to become involved in checking the conditions of farm animals being transported in the county and ensuring that the transportation meets the required standards. Sadly KCC has chosen not to exercise its powers and relies instead upon the checks carried out by Government’s Animal Plant Health Agency which, according to the Compassion report, are clearly inadequate. If I’m elected to KCC I will try my best to ensure that KCC plays a much more proactive and robust role in policing live animal exports from Ramsgate Port and prosecuting any exporters who breach the regulations.
Promoted and published by Ian Driver. 45 Sea View Road, Broadstairs, CT101BX