A lorry driver transporting sheep to Holland was found to be in breach of welfare regulations when RSPCA and AHVLA inspectors at the port of Ramsgate discovered animals in his vehicle had no access to drinking water.

A lorry driver transporting sheep to Holland was found to be in breach of regulations when RSPCA and AHVLA inspectors at the port of Ramsgate discovered the animals in his vehicle had no access to drinking water.

A shipment of sheep at Ramsgate. Credit: RSPCA.In total, three lorries carrying 222 calves and 260 sheep were checked by both the RSPCA and the AHVLA. One of the lorries had a faulty water pump, resulting in the driver receiving a warning notice from the AHVLA.

Although it is not a legal requirement for sheep to have continuous access to water during a journey, but to be offered water at least every 14 hours. Also, lorries must be equipped with a water supply so that it can be supplied instantly and be accessible to the animals.

Buckets were reportedly found on board, but due to the overall lack of water, the driver was still deemed to breaching regulation.

A warning notice was issued and the pump was repaired at the port before all three lorries boarded the Joline to continue the load’s journey to Holland, via Calais, France.

Julia Wrathall, head of the RSPCA‘s farm animals science team, said of the finding: “Drinking water is one of the essential basics that sheep, or any animals, need during a journey which potentially can be long and hot.
 
Joline, the boat currently being used to transport animals from Ramsgate. Photo courtesy RSPCA.“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 latest breach of regulation came as the European Commission rejected the 8hours pledge, a campaign to legislate an eight hours maximum journey time for travelling slaughter animals in the EU.

The 8hours campaign, which was initiated by member of European parliament and head of delegation for the Danish social democrats Dan Jørgensen and founder of charitable association Animals’ Angels Christa Blanke, currently has 1.1 million signatories, and has been accepted by the European Parliament.

However, it has since been rejected by the commission, which claims it does not meet the requirements of the Citizens’ Initiative, the procedure that allows members of the EU to come to the commission with a campaign or pledge they deem worth legislating.

David Bowles. Image courtesy Andrew Forsyth.David Bowles, director of communications at the RSPCA, said of the commission’s rejection: “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.”


Sheep / Joline images courtesy RSPCA
David Bowles pic courtesy Andrew Forsyth
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