Breach comes as Europe rejects petition for eight hour journey limit
Welfare checks on animals being shipped out of Ramsgate port in Kent to France have revealed a lorry load of sheep with no drinking water.
Our inspectors joined staff from Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) on the docks on 6 June. Inspections revealed a faulty pump meaning hundreds of sheep had no access to drinking water – a basic legal requirement.
Better enforcement needed across Europe
A warning notice was issued and the pump was repaired at the port before the lorry it continued its journey to Calais and then Holland.
Dr Julia Wrathall, head of the RSPCA’s farm animals science team, said:
Drinking water is one of the essential basics that sheep, or any animals, need during a journey which potentially can be long and hot.
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 breach of welfare rules highlights the need for better enforcement across Europe and a maximum eight hour journey time to help reduce the risk of animals suffering unnecessarily during transportation.
Million-strong petition rejected
The latest breach comes as the European Commission rejected a petition signed by more than a million animals lovers and almost 400 MEPs calling for a maximum eight hour journey time.
David Bowles, director of communications at the RSPCA, said:
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.
Animal lovers are being urged to tell the European Commission how they feel about long-distance live transport of animals.
Demad the Commission accept the 1 million signatures!
More on long-distance live transport
The 20 May marked the first anniversary of the trade of live animals re-starting from Ramsgate. Our chief executive, Gavin Grant, gathered alongside other campaigners to commiserate the anniversary of this cruel trade.
Take a look at his speech in our blog post: