Campaigners against live animal exports to gather in Ramsgate for memorial and protest

Live Export protests Photo Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt

Campaigners against live animal exports are expected to take part in a protest in Ramsgate tomorrow (February 1).

According to stalwart campaigner Gerard Bane some 14,000 people will gather at the Nethercourt roundabout to protest against an incoming shipment and to mark the anniversary of the death of a fellow protester. That figure has not been confirmed by live export protest groups.

From midday until 2pm, the group will meet to remember Jill Phipps who was crushed to death by a livestock lorry on February 1, 1995 in Baginton, Warwickshire. The lorry was carrying calves to Coventry Airport, from where they were being flown to Europe to be raised for veal.  Jill was 31 years old when she was killed and had a 9 year old son.

Photo Stop Live Exports from the Port of Ramsgate

A shipment is also due at the port at approximately 1pm. Two lorries are expected, with one carrying sheep and the other calves, destined to board vessel, the Joline. The time will coincide with the memorial gathering. The male calves, transported from Scotland, are being taken to Spain and are destined for veal pens.

Kent Action Against Live Exports has spoken to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs about the regulations on unweaned calves when travelling in cold temperatures, due to icy weather predictions.

A spokesman said: “They have taken on board our fears and are looking into the matter but at the moment the calves are still coming.”

The Green Party’s animals spokesperson, Keith Taylor MEP (pictured), will be joining the campaigners.

Mr Taylor, who recently wrote to the Environment Secretary Michael Gove to criticise him for backtracking on his  plans to ban live exports post-Brexit, said: “Long distance transport is barbaric and the latest resumption of calf exports through Kent highlights the fact that we need a collaborative effort on both sides of the Channel to end this suffering.

“As people come together on 1 February to mark the anniversary of the sad loss of fellow campaigner Jill Phipps, it is appalling to think we are 24 years on from this tragedy and still witnessing the export of calves who are just a few weeks old.

“Such lack of progression is truly depressing. We need strong action from all the countries involved to end this cruel trade. Despite its warm words, on its own, the UK Government continues to fail these vulnerable animals”

In a recent vote in the European Parliament, MEPs in the Transport Committee backed Mr Taylor’s call for stronger regulations, including a four-hour limit on live transportation for slaughter and an eight-hour time limit on any live animal transport.

Yvonne Birchall, from Kent Action Against Live Exports, said:  “After all this time, we should have found an alternative that works for both farmers and the animals. Not only are the animals suffering for the journeys themselves, but they could then suffer further as they endure conditions that would be illegal in the UK or are killed without any pre-stunning. It is unacceptable for animals to have to experience these journeys. We need greater effort to end this cruel trade.”