Ramsgate activists hold vigil to celebrate live exports ban

image captionThanet council suspended live exports from Ramsgate after an incident in which 45 sheep died

Campaigners are staging a 24-hour vigil to celebrate the suspension of live animal exports from Ramsgate port.

Thanet District Council suspended live exports from the port after 45 sheep died in accidents.

The local authority said the ban would be lifted after suitable facilities had been built.

Calls for the exports to resume have come from the National Farmers' Union (NFU). The NFU has said exporting live animals is a legal trade.

Gerard Bane, a spokesman for Stop Live Exports from Ramsgate Port, said the vigil this weekend was being held to celebrate the suspension of live exports from Ramsgate.

'Absolute jubilation'

Mr Bane, who lives in Ramsgate, said: "We're also celebrating the fact that it has now been suspended from Ipswich port, so it is of course a celebration, but it is also about highlighting the terrible suffering involved in this trade.

"You can feel the energy, the absolute relief, the absolute jubilation that people are experiencing from the suspension of this terrible trade."

Earlier this month, 43 sheep were put down after a lorry was stopped at the port. Two drivers were arrested and bailed.

And in a separate accident on the same day, a loading area floor collapsed while the sheep were taken off the lorry and two more died.

Six fell in the water and four were rescued by RSPCA officers, but two drowned.

The RSPCA said the 43 that were destroyed were examined by vets who found that one had a broken leg, another was so sick it had to be put down, and 41 were severely lame.

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