Ramsgate port reopened to dismay of RSPCA
As the first sheep-laden lorries arrived at the port of Ramsgate last Friday (19 October) RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant spoke of his concerns.
According to the RSPCA, lorries came into the loading area of Ramsgate port carrying around 3,500 sheep. The lorries were destined for France and, before driving onto the boat, the RSPCA said officers and an independent vet checked each one.
The lambs were taken to France to be slaughtered for Eid celebrations this Friday and Saturday. Grant said: “I was determined to be present in person along with my RSPCA inspectors to witness what occurs here today. This is a vile trade, which has no place in a civilised society. It is only sustained by the demand for animals to be used in ritual slaughter. Yet the number of sheep being transported far outweighs the number needed for consumption by the faithful. These poor creatures are being killed without stunning and some of the meat may be making its way onto the plates of unknowing families across Europe. It has to end now.”
On the morning, RSPCA inspectors sighted three areas of concern, including a lorry that appeared to have broken hydraulics on its roof (resulting in a sagging roof); inspectors were refused entry by Defra into one of the sealed lorries; and another lorry had horned and unhorned sheep inside. The RSPCA said Defra allowed each of these “issues” to go by.
The port was closed in the middle of September after 47 sheep were killed – of which three drowned and the rest were humanely destroyed on veterinary advice.
A judicial review led to the port being reopened last week when businesses cited irreparable damage and loss of income if they were prevented from transporting up to 75,000 live sheep to France for the Festival of Eid.