Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Live animal exports from Ramsgate to start again.

I'm not really sure if this means that exports from Ramsgate will resume immediately as this is new information. 

Here is what it says on the council's website.


Thanet District Council will be served with an injunction forcing the council to re-open the Port of Ramsgate to live animal exports.

The news follows a High Court decision today (Tuesday 16 October), which stated that until the outcome of a full judicial review into the council’s decision to suspend animal movements was determined, the Port would legally have to remain open to the trade in the interim.

Thanet District Council was served with legal proceedings on Friday 5th October against its decision to impose a temporary ban on all animal movements through its Port.

The challenge, being determined by Judicial Review, sought four key claims:

1.    To overturn the decision of the council to temporarily suspend the movement of live animals at the Port of Ramsgate.
2.    A mandatory order requiring the council to lift its ban on the shipment of exports.
3.    Damages for breach of European law.
4.    Interim order requiring the council to re-open the Port for live animal movements in the meantime, pending determination of application for judicial review.

Although being forced to reopen to the trade in the short term, the council is still mounting a vigorous defence of its action.

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Clive Hart, said: “The appalling incidents of 12th September were a very clear and practical indication to the council that the Port of Ramsgate is not an appropriate place to carry out the export of live animals. This is something we had been explaining to government agencies consistently for many months previously.

“The council is very clear in our view of this trade. However, if despite our strongest possible efforts to ensure the welfare of animals moving through the Port of Ramsgate, the High Court still determines that the Port must re-open to this trade, then our hands are absolutely tied.

“I would like to thank the RSPCA for their continued professional help with this issue.

We now need to meet with our lawyers to plan how best to progress our case.”

31 comments:

  1. So how much is this little exercise in exceeding the local authority's powers going to cost the poor old Thanet Council tax payers in legal bills, not to mentioned compensation for lost trade if the NFU come out on top in the judicial review. Once again pigmy politicians giving in to the noise makers and trying to play on the big boys pitch.

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  2. A sad day.Criminals (meaning Onderwater, found guilty five times of animal abuse in the courts) get priority over the townsfolk who do not want this vile trade here.

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  3. Very Christian of you Don, or doesn't the bible care about needless suffering of defenceless animals that are kept cramped up in the dark for hours with broken limbs and nothing to drink? I'll gladly pay a few extra quid on my council tax bill to stop this evil trade!

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    1. Peter, you are missing the point. TDC do not have the authority to stop this trade, only Brussels has. All TDC has achieved is a bit of showboating, during which time the poor crammed animals have had even longer journeys from Harwich, and now we face the costs of their pointless action. I do not mind my money being spent to try a stop this trade through Westminster and Brussels. I object to it being spent so some local politicians can feel important for a change.

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    2. Well said Peter, agree 100%

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    3. Tom, so you are quite content for the suffering to continue, knowing Brussels will not do a thing. Give TDC a bit of credit, instead of trying to score petty political points, at least they have tried to make a stand after last months debacle.

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    4. Tony, I am not content, but the animals suffering was actually made worse by facing an even longer sea journey. Furthermore, this is not political as all sides oppose this trade and our local MPs have been raising it in Westminster.

      My point is that TDC, of whatever hue, engaged in a useless exercise which achieved nothing, not even less suffering, and may well cost Thanet dear.

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    5. Tom, try to understand that it not only the sea journey that is at issue. These animals are being sent to conditions which have been deemed to be illegal in this country. Do you not find this a bit shameful on this country?

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    6. Of course, Tony, but the trade itself is not illegal and, as such, TDC were but minute cog in the machine to stop it. Protest, campaign, lobby, demonstrate,but trying to block a legal trade at local council level was utterly futile

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  4. I think we all feel for the animals and it was that awful boat that was the final straw for me. What the Council have done though, is to go against previous cases where the exporter has secured an injunction and won considerable damages in the same circumstances. In the full knowledge of that history and the likely success of today's application, it was surely foolhardy of this administration to have unilaterally banned what is unfortunately, a legal trade. It might have been more sensible to have gained proper legal advice before making what is likely to be shown to have been a cavalier knee-jerk decision, based on emotional. I wonder if the claimed damages have been quantified!! I fear this may now drag on for years and we will pay dearly for this.

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  5. Anonymous 9:34, I don't think that after over a year of the export of animals, the Councils decision could be called a knee jerk reaction.Why should the staff who work at the Port have to put up with seeing the animals in distress? Nothing has changed at the Port, no new amenities have been installed for the welfare of the animals, so what is to stop the same thing happening as last month?

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  6. TDC taking on Brussels is a bit like Margate FC or Ramsgate FC trying to play in the Premiership. Totally out of their league but playing with our money in the process. Tony, I would give TDC absolutely no credit for this debacle which could have been averted had they taken proper advice on their chances.

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  7. I guess there are several factors here. One being that the facilitates at Port Ramsgate appear to be inadequate, another being that stopping the trade in Ramsgate just moves it elsewhere. I wonder does this mean that the council will have to pay to upgrade the facilities at Port Ramsgate, or does it mean that animals have to continue to be exported via a port that has inadequate facilities.

    It looks as though we have to pay either way, which puts one of Europe.

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    1. Agreed Michael, it's one of the many points why we should get out of Europe.

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  8. Anon 9:45, if you look at the TDC web you'll see that they did take legal advice, and it was felt they had a good case. Unfortunately it looks like the Judiciary are very pro-Europe.

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  9. Any decent legal advise would have anticipated the likely response. It seems the previous case was overlooked. Not good advice in my book. Perhaps Clive would like to confirm that it was a barrister (who can be sued), who provided that advice and not the local in-house TDC mob.

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  10. Anon 10:19, on the Council web they state "The council has received the advice of a leading counsel that its actions in imposing a temporary live animal export ban at Ramsgate are lawful". I don't think that is a quote from the 'in house mob' as you call them. Perhaps you would like to get in touch with them and offer your "professional" advice.

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  11. I assume that TDC can set the fees for use of the port?
    So charge £500 per head for each sheep.
    Simples!
    Chuck Collins

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  12. This decision is pretty much in lne with the legal advice that was around last year, and seemed to change after the change in administration. Whilst it is in most eyes a vile trade, it has a track record of costing local authorities a lot of money to stop it, and usually failing to do so. It is the main reason why the previous administraion wanted to fight this through westminster and brussels. That said, the anmal deaths should have been a game changer, but the law is the law, and flouting it, or attempting to, whilst creditworthy in terms of reputation, could well be very painful for the taxpayer. Also remember this is only the first round in a likely several stage legal battle, which could be very costly.

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    1. Chris I have just had a look through all the Conservative press releases and online bumph and can’t find what their official position is over this one.

      Are they supportive of the Labour group’s legal battle, are they divided over it or are they against it?

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    2. Being a little devious here, Michael, methinks. This issue is not really political and people across the political spectrums from Ian Driver on the far left to Laura Sandys on the right have been campaigning against live animal exports.

      What Chris has told us is that when the Conzservative administration took legal advise it was that they could not legally ban the trade. The Labour one now say they received different advise although it is hard to imagine any worthwhile counsel giving such when there is existing judicial precedent on a similar case.

      The fact is that Labour are in charge and were very probably ill advised to embark on this course. That the Conservatives oppose animal exports is established fact, but when it was their time to attempt to ban it they were legally advised against.

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    3. Not really Tom, I would say the whole situation changed with the major incident involving the killing of so many sheep.

      My understanding is the facilities at Port Ramsgate proved to be inadequate for the export trade and it was this incident that triggered the temporary suspension of facilities.

      So I guess had the incident occurred under a Conservative administration they would have taken some action, suspended exports, improved the facilities, I don’t know, do the Conservative group?

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    4. It is fairly irrelevant what the Conservatives might have done and it is a case of those in charge have to take the decision as they see fit. The incident with the sheep clearly appalled everyone, but it did not change the law and, as a result, the decision to ban the trade, whilst understandable, looks ill advised. Only time will tell, but the cost could be high.

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    5. Labour, who attracting considerably less votes than the Conservatives in May 2011, seized power through a vote of no confidence backed by a turncoat. They wanted office, they have got it and now they have to live with the consequences of their actions. It's tough at the top.

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  13. In this case true power lies with Westminster. Laura Sandys is fighting to stop these exports of live animals. Why did TDC not leave the matter in her capable hands, thereby saving the council taxpayer nugatory expenditure?

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    1. So John (and anybody else) what is the government proposing and what progress has been made? I cant find any information on this anywhere.
      But Laura Sandys did issue a statement on the 21st September backing Clive Hart and his council. In case you missed it:-

      "Laura said “I am very pleased that live exports from the Port of Ramsgate have been temporarily suspended and commend Thanet District Council on their swift and robust decision in light of the horrific events last week. I am keen to ensure that we do not let this important issue slip off the agenda and have written to Dr Vassallo, Cabinet Member for animal health and welfare at the European Commission to highlight just how unacceptable the current situation is and to call on him to review a number of key policy areas."

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    2. I am not clear on what is your point. The power to stop live exports rests with Westminster. Local Councils have no power in these matters.

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  14. Is Chris Wells saying that TDC was advised this was likely to happen. Perhaps TDC should settle the action now and pay the damages and costs for us rather than risk even more losses. Perhaps 10.19 would care to rephrase the comment to say the external legal advise was correct, but that when Clive and Co snatched power he was advised to ignore it by the in house mob.

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  15. like it or not uk does not run its own country any more its run by some to m dick or harry on the other side of the ENGLISH channel

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