Friday, 20 May 2011

Live animal exports from Ramsgate response from Thanet District Council

The thing at the top of the picture above is not an animal as it may be a pig or a cow, possibly a pow, the animal at the bottom of the picture is probably a dog and therefore not allowed in Ramsgate Harbour.

I sent this query to the council:

Subject: the live animal export issue
Date: 18/05/2011 10:19:37 GMT Daylight Time
Hi ***** could you sort this one out soonest for me as if I have got it wrong then I think I ought to print a retraction, I think this is going to be very emotive issue and as you know I have a fairly high web presence, judging from the amount of comment recently possibly more than some of the local papers.

It relates to my blog post about the animal exports, see 

Two councillors have commented publicly on the post and it think I recognise the comments of at least one other.

My questions relate to the repeal of harbour bylaw 44, if this had any relationship with the live animal export issue, if the proper procedures were followed in repealing it, if its repeal is completed, in fact any information you can give me that clarifies the issue.

There are some questions below, although as I don’t really fully understand the issue according to Ken Gregory and Simon Moores, so there may be other questions that I should have asked as well that would have helped clarify the issue.  

Did the bylaw cover the port or just the Royal harbour? Ken implies it didn’t.

Did any animal cargoes go through Ramsgate while the bylaw was in place?

Where did the proposal to repeal the bylaw come from?

Has the bylaw repeal process been completed?

I noted that the report recommending the repeal is dated the same date as the council meeting to decide if the bylaw repeal process was to be started, does this mean that the statutory notification period wasn’t followed correctly?

Probably whether the bylaw would have stopped live animal exports would only have been discovered when the council had instigated judicial action based on the bylaw to prevent live animal exports.

Not sure if you can expand on this one, possibly the export company has already successfully fought such an action, which is part of the reason for the repeal of the bylaw, as I said anything to expand on this would help.

Regards Michael.

Here is their reply:

Subject: Live animal exports from Ramsgate
Date: 20/05/2011 09:08:29 GMT Daylight Time

Hi Michael

We're aware that understandably there's been a lot of discussion on your site about the issue of live animal exports from Ramsgate, especially with reference to the repealing the byelaw at Ramsgate Harbour that bans dogs.

We're also aware that people have been keen to see a statement from the council and I'm happy to supply you with that, which hopefully clearly states the situation. As you will see, the repeal of the byelaw has no relation whatsoever to the commencement of live animal exports at the Port of Ramsgate:

"The byelaw has not yet been repealed, so the shipments taking place now are totally unrelated to that. The byelaw has nothing to do with livestock movements, as it was based on animals that could potentially transmit rabies. This is not the case with the livestock involved in the export.

Even if this was not the case, the byelaw is overridden by European law, adopted by Britain, guaranteeing free trade between member countries. As a result, the council is duty bound, as set out in law, to provide the Port of Ramsgate for the use of vessels for legal trade, including livestock movements."

This information will be appearing on our website shortly, as part of a series of frequently asked questions. I'd be grateful if you would also put this statement up on your site to set the record straight on this issue.



Press and Media Manager
Thanet District Council

This is Bylaw 44

44. (1) Save as hereinafter provided in paragraph (3) of the byelaw, no
person being in charge of an animal shall cause, permit or suffer
such animal to enter or remain in the harbour and, without
prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, no person shall take or
keep such animal on board, or land such animal from, any vessel
within the harbour.
(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1) of this byelaw, the owner of an
animal shall be deemed to be in charge thereof unless the owner shall
prove that, at the time the offence against this byelaw was committed,
the animal had been placed in or taken into the charge of some other
(3) This byelaw shall not apply to the use by any constable, or member of
Her Majesty's Customs and Excise or any member of Her Majesty's
Armed Forces, of any dog or other animal in connection with the
detection of crime or the enforcement of the law.

This is my formal retraction of any misleading information I may have published about this issue. 


  1. Well yet another waste of officers time and our money so you can pursue your ongoing vendetta against the council.

  2. anonymous at 14:20,

    You fail to understand the tenents of a free society. We do not exist to serve the council. The council exists to serve us. Consequently, every citizen has a right and a duty to hold councillors to account. Which Michael does.

    The circumstances of Michael's inquiries are not conditional upon your approval.

    When I was a Civil Servant I never considered it a waste of money or of my time to answer questions from members of the public. Are you anonymous at 14:20 telling me that it is different for local government?

  3. While it might be reasonable to argue that Michael could have checked his facts further before posting, his request to the Council was hardly unreasonable, in any event.

    His mistake seems to have been that, rather than simply sitting about doing the usual Thanet thing of making up a suitably convincing conspiracy story for his own satisfactiom then treating his interpolation of events as an undeniable fact, he went to the trouble of *asking* the authorities to clarify things and then, when things became clear, he did something that really sets the cat among the pigeons. he retracted his error.

    It is good to see that the ever-present poisonous Thanet attitude of criticising people for trying to do the right thing (and then actually doing it when they realise their mistake) is alive and well.

    It's scary to think that one day the proportion of the Island living in the past might just grow out of the common habit of picking on people for not being passive recipients of what is dished out at them.

    Welldone Michael for trying, perhaps learn a lesson from the error, but equally welldone for taking the issue to its conclusion.

  4. Anon 1610, I am surprised you had time to respond to the public. You obviously did not work for MOD otherwise you would have been too business claiming actuals for your expenses, putting in for overtime and time of in lieu for the same hours and checking that you had used up all your sick leave.

    That is, of course, when not attending a union meeting somewhere at public expense.

    If Michael wants to expose that little lot it would get my full support.

  5. I think it's a worthwhile exercise because it is teaching TDC to respond properly to people. So many times I have written to the Council and the response has been evasive and, in my opinion, deliberately so. TDC should be paying Michael a consultancy fee for training its staff to be transparent and to answer questions fully and frankly.

  6. anonymous at 17:17,

    Ah, responding to members of the public without actually saying anything is a civil service art form. Do you not remember 'Yes, Minister'.

  7. I will do my best to respond to the comments here, first I should point out that this subject was first covered a couple of weeks ago in the comments of this post

    After that I put it onto the back burner until the BBC covered it and I did Tuesday’s post

    The bookshop has been very busy today and I didn’t have time to do much more than sketch the pow and paste in the correspondence.

    I wrote Tuesday’s post on the assumption that the word animals included cows, pigs and sheep and that the bylaw was written to vary the law, European or UK in the harbour.

    I am not really certain here if the council are saying that their other bylaws don’t mean what they actually say, or if it only this one.

    14.20 I take it from the council’s response that I am not the only person wasting their time asking about this issue.

    16.10 yes it was indeed a considerable learning curve for me.

    Bill the MOD thing is just too big an issue for me.

    17.17 I think there is a considerable misunderstanding about this one, several of my complaints to the council have been made because of requests for me to do so by council officers.

    John, quite a few of my friends and relations are civil servants and take an interest in some of the responses I get, in this instance I seem to have had an interesting response, it seems to say that all animals apart from dogs are not considered for council purposes to be animals and that council bylaws have no legal validity.

  8. Michael

    This probably doesn't help, as I don't have access to documentary evidence, but TDC definitely relaxed its attitude to dogs in the harbour sometime in the 1990s. I remember it well because the museum staff enjoyed telling people to take their dogs out of the harbour 'precincts' and even had the 'duty' of keeping a "Temple-Cox Animal Grabber" - a sort of noose on a stick, together with a padded gauntlet to help in the capture (and disposal!) of rabid dogs and cats. We never had to use it!

    Anyway - the point of this nostalgia is that we were devastated that our once poo-free Royal Harbour was suddenly inundated by doggie doo-doos after the harbour-master announced that TDC had repealed the byelaws prohibiting animals to allow continental yachtsmen to land their chiennes (translate carefully) and hundleins.

    All of the prohibiting signage was removed and we even collected some of the frightening "Rage" posters for the museum. I don't imagine that the byelaw was ever intended to control livestock movements - Wellington would have been pretty upset if his cavalry had left their horses behind - but am puzzled that it does not appear to have been repealed as we believed some 15 years ago.

  9. MC I have just copied this from the harbour’s website.

    “Policy on Animals

    Due to the anti Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and other Mammals) order 1974 and amendment orders, a byelaw was introduced banning animals from Ramsgate harbour.

    44. (1) Save as hereinafter provided in paragraph (3) of the byelaw, no person being in charge of an animal shall cause, permit or suffer such animal to enter or remain in the harbour and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, no person shall take or keep such animal on board, or land such animal from, any vessel within the harbour.

    We have been in the position where people have tried to bring “chipped” pets in from abroad and where others have tried to smuggle them in.

    The majority of permanent berth holders who have brought their dogs to the marina/harbour have been extremely responsible.

    There have been reports of dogs not on leads, dogs defecating on pontoons and then the mess being kicked in the water rather than being picked up, dogs urinating against water hoses and electrical boxes. Against this background the byelaw will be enforced forthwith and we hope we will have all our berth holders co-operation.

    Harbour Master

    Port of Ramsgate”

  10. So - the harbour website restates the byelaw (which a previous HM certainly announced was repealed) but then acknowledges that 'nice' residents have been breaking it, with their encoragement, for years but some 'naughty'visitors had abused the council's blind eye approach with predictable fall-out!

    The point being - when is a law not a law, making it difficult to guess which byelaws are being enforced?

    However, even if this applies to the port and not just the RHR I still doubt that this was ever intended to control livestock cargo, so not applicable to the new trade.

  11. Well Michael melad would you be old enough to remember the introduction of ye parking meters ?

    A famous circus employed lawyers to look at the new parking laws.

    The result was an elephant, bedecked in circus advertising, parked next to a London parking meter.

    Along came a young London bobby and the media already briefed to be there were waiting.

    "Please move your elephant along sirs"

    "No" said the circus lawyers, "It is not an offence to park an elephant in a controlled zonme without paying. You cannot issue an elephant a parking ticket."

    "Ah" said the young constable, " But an elephant is an ANIMAL as defined by law and under the Metropolitan Streets Act it remains an offence to use an animal for the purposes of advertising within one mile of Charing Cross ... kindly move yer elephant"

    Now if the lawyers had not been diverted by the circus owner's ire at their incompetence they could have turned the tables and insisted on being arrested. In which case the ANIMAL must be transported by the constable as prisoner property. Which would have made tidy old publicity.

    This was a trick apparently used by unlicensed London barrowboys. If arrested they would walk to the nick with the hapless constable alongside having to push their laden barrow.

    There you go Michael animal is a generic term in law and it applies to all animals even elephants.

    I imagine that TDC first reaction to an elephant laden in adverts would be to determine if they had planning consent for the advert. Funny crowd at times.

  12. so i guess the question has to be when is an animal not an animal......when it is subject to a tdc byelaw.

    As an aside in December the council declare the byelaw is appealed and minute it as such....then lo and behold 5 months later ..oh no it isn't. Oh i was forgetting that december was the panto season with a large bunch of clowns in the council chamber.

  13. All well and good but no mention of an Animal Welfare Policy!!!!

    On the subject of the 'Lawww' and animals it is a legal requirement that Animals and I guess TDC have to be looked after.

    Its sorts of sets out why we should not be part of the waste of space and very expensive sponging EU.

    Someone in this government should be sending the entire EU and the former Russian states a bill for this countries endeavours in the First and Second world wars, that should clear the national debt and resolve the animal problem...whose border is it anyway?

  14. It would seem that the clowns in Thanet are not confined to the council. There are plenty contibuting here and, rather like the ones in the circus, their humour is a bit dated.

  15. To anonymous at 21 May 2011 07:44,

    Would it be cruel of me to include you as one of these 'clowns' that you have spotted.

  16. Be my guest, John, if it pleases your little mind. Wasn't aware there was even dated humour in my comment but whatever. All popularity is gratefully received.

  17. I'm a little unclear what the objection is here. If animals are being tranported to a slaughterhouse in Northern France, Belgium or Holland it really isn't that different from sending them to a slaughterhouse somewhere in the UK. I understand the difference and the objection if the journey is much longer but I can't see that you can object, in principle, to animals being transported because they are transported within the UK and nobody seems to object to that. In fact, the last foot and mouth crisis was made far worse because of the numbers of animals being ferried between UK farms. Much of this activity was unneccessary.

  18. There are several slaughter houses in East Kent. With a 4 hour crossing time, plus time in Begium and plus time to load and unload and wait for the ferry to sail it could be at least 6 hours extra crossing the channel.

  19. Anon 15:51 Hopefully your doctor will never tell you that you have a short time to live, but, if he does, I wonder if you will respond by saying, OK then let's get it over and done with or whether you will cherish and try to make use of your remaining time. You seem to be making the end it now option decision for these unfortunate animals.

    As to the slaughter houses in East Kent, how far did they travel to reach those.

  20. The massive EU veal industry – almost six million calves are reared for veal every year within the EU – is dependent on transporting hundreds of thousands of calves every year.

    The Netherlands alone imports almost 500,000 young calves each year for its veal production. Many of these are transported very long distances from Poland, Lithuania, Ireland, and Italy, but also shorter distances from Germany, the Czech Republic, France and until recently from the UK.

  21. I feel we should be welcoming this move to export from the UK. we as a country need the revenue regardlesss of the animal rights issue. The animals will be transported under conditions accepted and approved by all the authorities and wont be going straight to the slaughter house but will live abroad to finish their growing to a slaughterable size/weight. Some will be breeding stock so to say the should be slaughtered before export would make breeding very difficult. I am a ex butcher slaughterman and as such wish the traders who wish to use Ramsgate every success. And the farmers who are exporting the livestock are bringing in much needed income for our batter finances.

    On the animal rights issue there is no such thing as a nice death. Live stock is bread to become someones dinner, untill such times as people stop consuming meat animnals will have to die we as the Alpha in this proccess are all responsible be it a burger from Mcdonalds or a pig on a spitroast. The UK has some of the most stringent welfare conditions for livestock so maybe we should export mmore to cut down the chance of animals who have lived in lesser conditions entering the food chain

  22. It only goes to show that eventually you can get some kind of half truth out of tdc, its just a shame that they are not an open and up front council. You should not need to continually badger for information it should be readily available.
    Why tell lies and say a byelaw is repealed when it hasn't been ? Now there are lots of local people walking their dogs around the harbour breaking a byelaw and committing an offence that they could actually be fined for.

  23. I sincerely hope that protests will be organised to try to stop this deplorable trade. I will join such protests. Is there anyone trying to organise anything, or does anyone wnat to try to get something off the ground with me?

    Ian Driver local councillor

  24. Judging by Ian Driver's comment, are we to take it that it is official Thanet Labour policy to deprive farmers of their livelihood. Suggest folk read through Don's comment carefully before jumping to conclusions.

    Having just on his own blog applauded the boys in blue, it would seem that the very new Councillor Driver wants to give them extra work policing demonstrations. Let's hope his is not one of the first collars felt.

  25. Hi Ian,

    I would be happy to join in the protests if you can explain to me why this trade is deplorable. Please don't patronise me in your reply. I am looking for evidence that what is being done here is cruel and unreasonable. I haven't seen any such evidence presented here.

    An earlier poster referred to the evils of the EU veal trade. I went to Rooks yesterday. I couldn't see any veal. It isn't clear what you would do with veal if you didn't export it. The earlier poster did concede that the problems with transport distances were associated with countries much further away from Holland that us. I really don't see why tranporting from the UK to a slaughterhouse in Holland is such an evil thing to do.

  26. I care more about the animals than the farmers.

  27. Strange, Peter, for I thought trading in flesh was your forte. Presumably turning the female form into a cattle show is OK but not cattle.

  28. You've got that exactly right 13:10. What women choose to do with their bodies is up to them, but unfortunately cattle & sheep don't get that choice.

  29. Who knows what the cattle would choose to do if desperate for a few bob given the choice. Some would call what you do exploitation and the modelling world, about from the few at the very top, is hardly savoury.

  30. I doubt if anyone would call it exploitation, as neither myself or my models make any money out of it. It's all done on an "art-for-art" basis, where no money changes hands... whatever, animal welfare is (even) more important to me than getting the female population of Thanet to strip off, & certainly farmers' suffering financially is no justification (wasn't a similar argument used against those who wanted to abolish slavery / stop child labour / have equal pay for women / etc?).

  31. A few thoughts here, from a confused individual, which may be of some help.

    Many years ago I went through a period of vegetarianism on moral grounds, at my age and at that time it was frankly very difficult and I gave up the whole thing.

    Some years later I was part of an Anglican contemplative community that kept farm animals so learnt how this works to an extent.

    Taking the thing to its logical conclusion if you are considering giving up animal products and protesting about aspects of animal product production then you have to accept that if there were no animal products then there would be no farm animals.

    The export of live animals from the UK is mostly a by-product of milk production, for cows to produce milk they have to have calves, far more calves than could be realistically farmed for any length of time, they are surplus to uk requirements, there simply wouldn’t be enough land for them, whatever was done with them.

    The current solution is to ship them live to other countries for veal production.

    Just a question to Peter, Ian etc, do any of you drink milk?

    I should point out that I don’t like the idea of live animal exports, nor do I like the idea of a world without farm animals.

  32. To those interested go to and on the VESSEL tab put JOLENE, which is in Calais at the moment. This is the vessel coming across to pick up the livestock. When it is underway the AIS information will tell you it's ETA at Ramsgate.

  33. Sorry, wrong spelling, the name of the vessel is spelt JOLINE

  34. Roll on the purple ribbon brigade and pickets at the port.


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