Keith to speak out against live exports at Broadstairs public meeting today

9 March 2012

Keith Taylor, the Green MEP for Kent and the South East, will speak out against live exports at a public meeting in Broadstairs later today. Keith will detail his concerns and thank local campaigners for their work to highlight this cruel practice. Local MP, Laura Sandys, and staff from animal welfare organisations from the RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming will also address the meeting.

Keith recently visited Ramsgate to meet with campaigners who are demanding an end to live animal exports from Ramsgate port. Keith has this week continued to put pressure on the government by reiterating his request to James Paice MP, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, to explain whether transportation conditions for animals being exported from Ramsgate port are being monitored and whether Defra is satisfied that EU animal transportation standards are being met.

In response to concerns about the lengths of the journeys being made, Keith has urged Defra to comply with EU transport regulations which state that national authorities are responsible for checking and approving journey logs before long journeys to ensure that they indicate compliance with the regulations.

Banned for animal welfare convictions

Keith has asked Defra why Mr Johannes Onderwater, a Dutch animal trader, is involved in the transportation of calves from the port of Ramsgate, despite previous convictions for animal welfare offences. In September 2009, Onderwater Agneaux, a company owned by Mr Onderwater was convicted of six charges under the Welfare of Animals Transport Order at Dover magistrates' court.

Despite this ban a company registered at Mr Onderwater's address, but not in his name, Barco de Vapor, has obtained a licence to transport animals from the Dutch authorities. European regulations prohibit any person convicted of serious animal welfare offences from transporting animals for three years. Keith has urged Defra, the department responsible for ensuring that EU legislation on animal transportation is implemented, to fully investigate this matter.

At an EU level Keith has written to European Commissioner Dalli asking him to confirm that European regulation prohibits any person convicted of serious animal welfare offences from transporting animals for three years. He has also asked who is responsible for ensuring that those banned from transporting animals in the UK do not obtain a licence from another European country.

Keith Taylor MEP said: "I hope that this meeting will send a strong message that transporting live animals in terrible conditions for hours on end just to be slaughtered upon arrival is cruel, unnecessary and must be stopped. I don't believe that there is any public appetite for this kind of cruelty to animals and consumers would be appalled by what is going on in Ramsgate. The EU sets welfare standards over animal transport, some of which seem only laxly enforced. The remedies lie with the EU and the British government and pressure for change must continue and increase."

He continued: "I am urging Defra to do all it can to investigate the licence of the company registered at Mr Onderwater's address and to turn down journey logs that are likely to break EU regulations on journey times. I believe the Barco de Vapor licence to trade in live animals should be suspended immediately while these issues are investigated."

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