The South East’s Green MEP has paid tribute to the commitment and hard work
of a Kent animal campaign group today, after its monitoring of livestock
shipments at Dover led to an EU investigation and subsequent damning report
to which the UK must now respond.
Kent Against Live Exports (KALE) alerted Green MEP Caroline Lucas to the
potential breaches of existing EU law on the transport of live animals
through the Dover harbour; she then took the campaign to the EU through a
series of formal complaints to EU Commissioners.
KALE, the Kent based volunteer- run organisation which campaigns against the
export of live farm animals to mainland Europe, has spent the last two years
documenting the movement of livestock through the port of Dover, uncovering
numerous breaches of EU animal welfare law.
When their pleas for action were ignored by the UK Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), KALE and the Green MEP took
their efforts to Europe; the EU Commission for Health and Consumer Affairs
in Brussels promptly sent a team of officials from the Food and Veterinary
Office department (FVO) to investigate.
Dr Caroline Lucas MEP, who is also Vice President of the RSPCA and VP of the
European Parliament’s Animal Welfare Intergroup, said: “I wholeheartedly
welcome the conclusions of the FVO report, which confirms that welfare
standards of farm animals being transported at Dover fall far short of EU
regulations – if only the UK’s own DEFRA had shown such concern.
“The report clearly identifies a number of breaches of EU Regulation 1/2005
on ‘the protection of animals during transport and related operations’. It
found a lack of adequate contingency plans, a lack of an unloading facility
for animals in the vicinity, and a general non-compliance with welfare
requirements, including lack of cleaning and disinfection of the vehicles
used in livestock transport.”
Dr Lucas concluded: “KALE’s continued commitment and hard work on the
campaign against long distance transport of live farm animals has really
paid off. With this report, the EU is sending a strong message to the UK
authorities that more must be done to safeguard the welfare of live animals
being transported in and out of Dover.
“Farm animal welfare standards in the EU are far from perfect, and this
report represents a small step along a very long road. The Green Party
continues to call for a complete end to all live animal exports, both within
and beyond the EU, to prevent unnecessary suffering."
Mark Johnson, EU correspondent for KALE, said: “Now that the EU / FVO report
has been published, KALE trusts that the UK authorities will now take note
of the suggestions and recommendations, and fully implement procedures to
ensure that we (KALE) do not continue to see animal suffering as regularly
witnessed by our monitors and observers at Dover harbour.
“KALE, as always, will be independently monitoring all animal shipments from
Dover, and if we find that the proposed recommendations are still not being
implemented, we will go back to Brussels asking for the EU to take legal
action against the UK for continual non-compliance with EU regulations on
Notes to Editors
KALE has obtained access to the twenty-four page (FVO) inspection report,
number 2008/7690 titled “Animal welfare during transport”. It can be viewed
at http://ec.europa.eu/food/fvo/ir_search_en.cfm by entering the inspection
report number (2008/7690).
For more information on KALE, please visit http://www.myspace.com/snuffle.