Lack of facilities sees Associated British Ports suspend live transport of farmed animals to Europe “until further notice”. Is this the beginning of the end for live animal exports out of the UK?

Animal welfare campaigners have announced their “delight” at a decision by the owners of Ipswich Port, Associated British Ports (ABP) to suspend live transport of farmed animals to Europe “until further notice”.

Sheep being transported to Europe via Ramsgate. Image credit RSPCA.The decision comes after ABP confirmed that the port did not have suitable facilities for the handling of animals should emergencies arise.

The trade moved to Ipswich after it was suspended from the Port of Ramsgate, following an incident in which 500 sheep had to be unloaded from a truck in the port – 46 of which died.

Since the move to Ipswich only one crossing has been made to the continent. The MV Joline, a converted former Russian tank transporter, made a trip to Calais on September 21, 2012.

The journey took more than 15 hours and saw the RSPCA call the boat’s suitability and compliance with EU animal welfare regulations into question.

RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant.Of the suspension, RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said: “I am delighted that ABP have suspended this dire trade. They are taking their responsibilities seriously to the animals.

“ABP have acknowledged to the RSPCA that, like Ramsgate, their port did not have suitable facilities to help the animals should an emergency arise.”

Further, responding to news that the National Farmers Union is attempting to get Ramsgate re-opened, Mr Grant said: “They should respect the views of the people of Ramsgate, Ipswich and this country that there is no place in a civilised and compassionate society for this vile trade that causes so much suffering to animals.”

Main image ©RSPCA
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