Thanet MP calls for ban on Ramsgate live animal exports

Laura Sandys
Image caption Laura Sandys says the vessel Joline "is not equipped to cross the Channel"

An MP has called for a ban on live animal exports after more than 40 sheep were put down at a Kent port.

Laura Sandys, Conservative MP for South Thanet, said only slaughtered meat should be sent to Europe via Ramsgate.

She told the House of Commons: "Ultimately, it is the will of my constituents that we should be looking to get a ban on live animal exports."

Ms Sandys demanded animal welfare inspections be stepped up until live exports could be scrapped.

Forty four sheep were put down at Ramsgate in September when a lorry was stopped at the port and the animals were found to be sick and lame.

In a separate accident, a loading area floor collapsed and three more died.

Thanet council temporarily banned live exports from the port but this was later overturned by the High Court.

'Major crisis'

Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Sandys said: "Ultimately, it is the will of my constituents that we should be looking to get a ban on live animal exports."

Image caption The Joline was forced to return to Ramsgate due to bad weather in November

Campaigners say the 184ft vessel, Joline, which sails from Ramsgate is unsuitable for transporting lorries carrying live animals, but regulators have approved it.

Ms Sandys told the Commons: "We are talking about a ship that's not equipped to go across the Channel, despite our regulators saying it is.

"It is equipped to be on freshwater river crossings, not across the Channel in the middle of winter.

"We have already had a major crisis where animals were taken halfway across the Channel and had to return because the boat was not capable of managing the seas."

The Joline, with about 700 sheep on board, returned to the port of Ramsgate in strong winds and rain on 21 November.

The animals were taken off in two lorries, watched by angry protesters who had earlier warned the ferry should not sail in the predicted poor weather.

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