New twist in animal exports row

Thanet Council imposed a ban on live exports from Ramsgate after the death of more than 40 sheep Credit: RSPCA

Animal rights campaigners in Kent are celebrating after what seems almost certainly the end of live exports from Ramsgate.

But it's only a partial victory because the owners of the controversial vessel that's being used have moved it to Ipswich.

The RSPCA say it will worsen conditions for the animals because it will double their time at sea.

More than forty sheep had to be slaughtered by the RSPCA last week when they were found in a distressed condition on the lorry which brought them to the port.

Thanet council, which has always opposed the trade, moved swiftly to impose a ban on further exports until proper lairage, quarantine and slaughtering facilities were built.

But the owners of the vessel used to ferry live animals have moved just as fast, taking their ship up to Ipswich from where it's set to sail tonight.

RSPCA inspector, Cazz Doe, said: "To simply move the problem elsewhere isn't helping. It's actually making it worse because the animals are being moved from now in Ipswich the sail time is likely to be between ten and 12 hours whereas from here it is between four and six hours.

"So the animals' welfare is going to be more compromised and there are no facilities there that I'm aware of. They are just moving the problem."

The ship being used, the Joline, was built in 1988 and is believed to have been orginally designed to carry tanks from Russian ports.

Kent campaigners say they will now be providing advice and support to their counterparts in Suffolk.

Ian Driver, Kent animal rights campaigner, said: ""We won the battle here and we want to help the people of Ipswich to stop live animal exports from their port. It's a cruel trade, it's a barbaric trade and it can't be dressed up any other way. It might be legal but that doesn't make it right."

VIDEO: Iain McBride talked to Cazz Doe, RSPCA and Councillor Ian Driver.