Warning: This story contains graphic images
We are calling for an immediate suspension of the live transport of animals from Ramsgate Port following a fiasco yesterday in which 47 animals died.
A lorry loaded with four tiers of sheep was stopped at the port yesterday morning and declared to be unfit to travel due to faults to the vehicle and the sheep had to be unloaded while the transporters tried to get another lorry.
It was the same lorry that was declared unfit to travel just last month. It has had two further failures at previous visits.
It was then discovered that one sheep had a broken leg and another was also injured and they were put to sleep on veterinary advice.
Further tragedy for sheep
In a further tragedy, sheep were loaded into an area where the floor then collapsed - six sheep fell into water and four were rescued by nearby RSPCA officers, but two drowned.
A vet then inspected all the sheep and found that a further 41 were lame and so these animals have been shot.
It is understood that two French lorry drivers were arrested at the scene. RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant, said:
This trade needs to stop right now. We told the port authorities right from the start that they did not have the facilities to handle live exports safely.
The RSPCA has been warning that a significant welfare incident like this could lead to tragedy for the animals and now it has. Early this summer we sent a report to the local authority warning that this would happen.
Live animal transport at Ramsgate port
Ramsgate is the only British port currently being used for shipping animals abroad for further fattening and slaughter.
The RSPCA has fought against this trade for well over 100 years. Gavin added:
If meat needs to go to the Continent then it should be on the hook, not on the hoof, and today cruelly illustrates that this appalling trade needs to cease immediately.
Gavin will be meeting with Government ministers first thing this morning to discuss the issue.
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