Former Green Party councillor and 2015 South Thanet Parliamentary candidate, Ian Driver, has announced that he will defy his party’s policy of remaining in the EU and campaign instead for Brexit.Driver’s announcement follows news that Thanet District Council (TDC) has paid out almost £6million in compensation and legal fees following its 2012 decision to suspend the export of live farm animals from the Port of Ramsgate.
According to figures released on Thursday (5th May) £4,692,630 in compensation payments have been made to companies involved in the export of live farm animals from the port of Ramsgate. A further £454,220 has been spent by TDC on its own legal fees, bringing the total to £5,146,500.
It is understood that TDC has yet to settle a number of outstanding compensation claims related to the suspension of live animal exports from Ramsgate port which could take the final compensation costs to over £6million.
It is estimated that further £5 million, at least, of taxpayers money has been spent on the costs of:
- deploying DEFRA Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) officers to supervise each the of 115 shipments which have taken from Ramsgate and Dover since 2010 involving over 350,000 animals facing long journeys of several days, in cramped conditions with limited access to food and water
- the costs of policing the 100 plus lawful protests at the ports of Ramsgate and Dover which take place at every shipment; the costs to TDC of employing additional security staff whenever there is a shipment;
- the costs of preparing and holding at least 20 largely unsuccessful, court cases related to live animal exports which have taken place since 2011.
- the costs of police surveillance against anti live animal export campaigners. At least one of whom, Ian Driver, is now, because his of activities included on the Polices’ so-called Domestic Extremist Database (1).
This takes the total costs to UK taxpayers of supporting a trade’ which most people oppose on the grounds of animal cruelty, but which is supported by the EU, to at least £11milion over the past 5 years.
The suspension of live animal exports from Ramsgate Port, which led to the astronomic compensation payments was imposed, by then then Labour controlled, TDC in September 2012 after 47 sheep, judged to be unfit to travel, had to be destroyed at the port.
At a High Court Hearing in December 2013 Mr Justice Birrs declared that the suspension “was an unjustifiable breach of Article 35 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union” which “breached a fundamental element of the rules governing free trade in the EU”. The judge concluded that “in my judgment the council is liable to damages to the claimants”.
Driver, one of the founders of the campaign against live animal exports from Ramsgate said “I’m astounded by the latest revelations. It seems likely that that the final bill for TDCs suspension of live exports from Ramsgate could easily top £6million! That’s £45 for every man woman and child in living in Thanet”. This appalling and unfair situation is a direct result of our loss of law making powers to the EU.”
“But what makes me most angry is that some of those who have benefited from the £4.6 million compensation payments are likely to be the same people who were convicted at Dover Magistrates Court in 2014 of animal cruelty offences related to the events which led to the suspension of live exports from Ramsgate in 2012”.
“In all conscience I cannot vote to remain in the EU when it actively endorses industrial scale animal cruelty by permitting this medieval trade and then rewarding the perpetrators of that trade with compensation payments akin to blood money when its interrupted because animals died in transit. Furthermore, EU rules have forced British state to deploy, at massive public expense, thousands of police officers to enable a trade, most people don’t approve of, to take place, and some of those people who have campaigned against it now find themselves with criminal records and classified as domestic extremists.