RSPCA takes livestock export issue to High Court

The RSPCA has made a claim in the High Court for a judicial review of arrangements made by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AVHLA) regarding exports from Ramsgate.

According to the animal welfare charity, it wants to see a judicial review of the arrangements made for the approval and supervision of live animal exports from the port of Ramsgate.

The legal proceedings have been brought about as the RSPCA believes the AHVLA is acting “unlawfully” in failing to make it mandatory for exporters to use ports with “appropriate” facilities, as well as failing to impose sailing restrictions on the vessel used to ship animals from Ramsgate, the Joline.

The RSPCA has also said it believes changes made to the inspection regime, which were introduced by the AHVLA, following an incident in September, were “unlawful” and failed to provide the “proper checks at the port to safeguard animal welfare”.  

RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said: “The animals have no voice and no choice. We will not walk away from their suffering in this vile and unnecessary trade.

“The lack of facilities at or near the port to deal with emergencies, the use of an old tank transporter to ship animals across the Channel in rough weather and the failure to thoroughly inspect animals at the port are all unacceptable. This cannot go on.”

Much controversy has surrounded the port since 47 sheep were killed in an accident in the middle of September last year, which resulted in a temporary ban on live exports. The accident was due to there being no livestock handling facilities, the RSPCA claimed.

Thanet District Council, the council in charge of the port, lifted the ban in November 2012, which is when the RSPCA “vowed to fight” against the export of animals from the port until more was done to ensure their welfare.

Grant added: “The animals deserve their day in court. We need the public’s help to make that happens. I know people will dig deep to support a legal fighting fund to get justice for the animals.”

The High Court is soon to decide whether it will hear the RSPCA’s case.


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