Sheep almost exported from Ramsgate without drinking water
AN EXPORTER taking sheep across to France has fallen foul of welfare laws after inspectors at Ramsgate port found the animals had been packed into a lorry without any drinking water.
Yesterday (June 6) RSPCA inspectors and staff from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency(AHVLA)found a lorry with a faulty pump had left the 260 sheep on-board with no drinking water.
A warning notice was issued by the AHVLA and the pump was repaired at the port before the lorry continued on to Calais and then Holland.
Dr Julia Wrathall, head of the RSPCA's farm animals science team, said: "Drinking water is one of the essential basics that sheep, or any animals, need during a journey which potentially can be long and hot.
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"It's very concerning that a lorry transporting live animals abroad had a faulty water pump but it's a relief that this was rectified so quickly.
"This breach of welfare rules highlights the need for better enforcement across Europe and a maximum eight hour journey time to help reduce the risk of animals suffering unnecessarily during transportation."
The latest breach comes as the European Commission rejected a petition signed by more than a million animals lovers and almost 400 MEPs calling for a maximum eight hour journey time on animals export being exported for slaughter.
It was accepted by the European Parliament but was rejected by the Commission because it does meet the requirements of the European Citizens Initiative which had not even been published when the petition started.
David Bowles, director of communications at the RSPCA, said: "More than a million people feel passionately, like the RSPCA, that animals going for slaughter or further fattening should not have to endure journeys of more than eight hours long.
"It is astounding and arrogant that the Commission is ignoring such a groundswell of public feeling and rejecting the petition on a technicality.
"The real victims are the millions of calves, sheep, dogs and horses which can legally be transported all over Europe – some suffering stress and exhaustion, hunger and thirst, extreme temperatures and even death in transit."
Animal lovers are being urged to tell the European Commission how they feel about long-distance live transport of animals logging onto rspca.org.uk/livetransport.