RSPCA inspectors were at a UK port yesterday (March 28, 2012) for the first time in more than a decade to check the welfare of hundreds of calves and sheep being shipped abroad.

RSPCA inspectors were at a UK port yesterday (March 28, 2012) for the first time in more than a decade to check the welfare of hundreds of calves and sheep being shipped abroad.

Inspectors check one of the four lorries to arrive at the Port of Ramsgate yesterday.Just days after the RSPCA’s chief executive met with Thanet Council to ask permission for RSPCA inspectors to attend the Port of Ramsgate, three RSPCA inspectors and a vet were inspecting the conditions onboard lorries as they arrived to board a boat for the channel crossing.

Chief inspector Dermot Murphy said: “The RSPCA is against the long-distance transport of live animals for slaughter or further fattening and we were at Ramsgate Port to ensure welfare rules are not being flouted.”

Throughout the day, four lorries – carrying approximately 1,800 sheep and 100 calves – arrived at the port and RSPCA inspectors assessed the welfare of the animals and examined the trucks.

Mr Murphy explained: “The RSPCA has been making sure that the animals have access to water, that there are non-slip floors or bedding down and that the calves and sheep are in a fit condition to travel.”

The Ramsgate inspectorsThe inspections resulted in two hauliers being issued with RSPCA warning notices – one for having broken ventilation fans and another for mixing sheep, some with horns, from different flocks in the same lorry. Animal Health also issued similar notices.

RSPCA inspectors issued the notices because of concerns for potential suffering, although the attending vet was satisfied the animals were fit to travel.

Emphasising the zero tolerance message, Mr Murphy said: “We have made it clear that if there are breaches of the rules we will take action.”

  • The RSPCA is working hard with the farming industry, governments and retailers to establish a financially viable alternative to shipping live animals abroad for further fattening and slaughter. Visit www.calfforum.org.uk for more information.
Images courtesy RSPCA
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