Hundreds expected at animal export rally
PUBLISHED: 10:38 11 August 2011
Hundreds of protesters are expected in Ramsgate as a rally against live animal exports is set to march through the town on Saturday (August 13).
"No-one wants to see this trade in Ramsgate or anywhere else and the only way to stop it is through the power of the democratic protest."
Hundreds of people are expected to turn up to a mass demonstration against live animal exports this weekend.
The rally, which takes place on Saturday (August 13) will meet at Ellington Park in Ramsgate at 11am, before travelling through the town at midday, proceeding along the High Street and Harbour Street, before finishing at the bandstand opposite Plains of Waterloo.
March organiser and Thanet District Councillor, Ian Driver, said: “There is a growing public outcry against this cruel and barbaric trade.
“Over 2,000 people have signed a petition against the exports and many of them have said that they will be joining the march.
"This rally is an important opportunity for Kent residents to show their opposition to the export of animals from their port."
“There have been seven shipments of live animals from Ramsgate to Calais since May involving 40 lorries and hundreds of distressed sheep and calves.
“This has got to stop.
“Saturday’s march will strengthen local opposition and be the starting point for future action against this sickening trade including mass pickets of the port when shipments leave.
“No-one wants to see this trade in Ramsgate or anywhere else and the only way to stop it is through the power of the democratic protest.”
"We’ve asked DEFRA to consider taking a firmer stance on the issue of live animal exports."
Compassion in World Farming (CiWF), who is supporting the campaign, will also be attending.
The charity has serious concerns that the export of live animals through Kent has been stepped up as almost 14,000 animals were taken through the county between December 2010 and June this year, whilst the last sailing from Ramsgate was a double shipment.
Joyce D’Silva, director of public affairs at CiWF, said: “People remain outraged at this cruel trade today and we’ll be at the rally supporting residents who want their voice heard on this.
“This rally is an important opportunity for Kent residents to show their opposition to the export of animals from their port.
“As long as the trade continues, our opposition to it will continue.”
CiWF have also obtained date which reveals that calves travelling through the Kent ports are travelling from Cockermouth, in Cumbria, to Spain,
This journey could last more than two days, with the animals allegedly in poor conditions with little access to water.
Mrs D’Silva added: “The welfare issues are clear and public opinion is clear: ban live exports now.”
Thanet District Council (TDC) has taken a step towards preventing the animal exports as they have written to the Government to pressure the European Commission to introduce a maximum limit of eight hours for live animal shipments.
The decision was agreed at a full council meeting in July and TDC sent a letter to the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
It says that: “This is based on the concerns that the current restrictions, and the circumstances in which transportation occurs, make it extremely difficult to guarantee the welfare of the animals during long periods of transfer.”
Councillors and protesters alike hope that if the legislation comes into force, it will price exporters away from Ramsgate and live exports.
TDC leader, cllr Bob Bayford, said: “The council has made it clear that we do not support the export of live animals aboard and would much prefer that the port of Ramsgate is not used for this purpose.
“As well as acting on the motion we agreed at full council, our letter to the government goes one step further.
“We’ve asked DEFRA to consider taking a firmer stance on the issue of live animal exports.
“From the feedback we’ve had from our residents, we’re sure this is something that would meet with their approval and would no doubt also have the support of the majority of the people in the UK.”