The resumption of the exports follows a 2 week trial at Dover Magistrates Court a month ago at which export company Channel Livestock Ltd and its owner Thomas Lomas were fined £9,000 and forced to pay costs of £10,000. for breaches of animal welfare law. Lomas was also sentenced to 6 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years for breaches of animal welfare rules (1).The convictions resulted from a prosecution by Kent County Council trading Standards following the destruction of 47 sheep at Ramsgate in 2012. It was decided by the court that many of the destroyed animals had sustained injuries during the course of their transportation to Ramsgate.
Said Driver “I appalled that convicted criminals, with a record of animal cruelty offences, are able to continue to ply their vile and barbaric trade from Ramsgate. In view of court findings about injuries sustained by sheep during transport to Ramsgate I will be writing to George Eustice MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Farming, to ask that on arrival at the port of departure, all farm animals destined for export are individually checked to ensure that they have not sustained injuries during transport and that they are fit to continue their journey. I will also be asking that such inspections are supervised by a qualified Vet. Currently portside checks are made by unqualified staff employed by DEFRA Animal Health. Only 30% of animal transport vehicles are subject to the most rudimentary of insepctions”.The owners of Ramsgate Port, Thanet District Council, were recently judged in the High Court to have breached European Law (2) by banning the live animal exporters from using its facilities following the destruction of the 47 sheep in 2012. It is likely that the Council will have to pay compensation and costs approaching £1million for its ethically-motivated actions.
Said Driver “there is clearly a massive legal conflict between animal welfare law and EU trade regulations which mean that organisations such as Thanet Council are prevented from using discretion to halt animal cruelty by the threat of massive compensation claims from the exporters. I will be asking Green MEP Keith Taylor to raise this issue in the European Parliament in order to develop a protocol will enable port owners to ban or suspend live animal exports from their facilities when animal welfare breaches are found to have happened, or at ports which do not have the proper facilities to manage animal welfare emergencies . I am sickened by the spectacle of convicted animal welfare criminals being able to profit from this legal loophole”1. http://www.kentonline.co.uk/thanet_extra/news/company-boss-fined-for-sheep-12701