Westgate photographer’s exhibition charts 11 years of fighting live animal exports through Ramsgate

(The art of) Compassion by Denise Botalli

A photographic exhibition chronicling 11 years of action against live exports running from Ramsgate will go on show at the town’s York Street Gallery this September.

The works in (The art of) Compassion are by Westgate mum-of-two and photographer Denise Botalli who began charting the fight in Thanet against the live export trade after joining Kent Action Against Live animal Exports (KAALE) and Thanet Against Live Exports (TALE).

Denise said: “Little did I know that this 11 year journey would see me amass hundreds of photographs documenting the demonstrations from the arrival of the live export lorries to them boarding the Joline – the old, converted Russian river boat once used to transport military machinery. The aim of the photographs was initially to gather evidence against the live exporters.

By Denise Botalli

“With the impending Kept Animals Bill progressing through Parliament, with the intention of facilitating a ban on all live exports among other points, the end of our fight is in sight.

“With this in mind I decided it was time to put together a photographic exhibition chronicling my work to show the determination and rollercoaster ride of raw emotions which each shipment brought.”

Live animal exports moved from Dover to Ramsgate in 2011. In 2012 the then-ruling Labour group at Thanet council banned exports from Ramsgate after 47 sheep died at the port in September of that year but they were forced to  make a U-turn by the High Court.

TDC has since paid more than £5.1 million in compensation to individuals and companies involved in the export of live farm animals from the port of Ramsgate for loss of trade.

By Denise Botalli

The claims followed the High Court ruling in December 2013 that TDC’s ban was unlawful and in breach of EU free trade regulations.

By Denise Botalli

The Kept Animals Bill began has been delayed three times, due to covid, Ukraine and now the change of leadership in the Conservative party. Prince Charles mentioned the Bill in his address to Parliament and the government has assured KAALE that it will progress through the Parliamentary processes toward Royal Ascent.

The last live export from Ramsgate took place on December 31, 2020.

Denise’s work has been framed by Birchington Framing Centre. She says she was also inspired by another Thanet photographer, Sue Fewings, who also recently exhibited works at York Street Gallery.

It will be on display at the gallery from September 7-14.


  1. Nobody likes the thought of live animal exports but how many of those eat meat? Understandably it’s done to maintain fresh meat,
    An animal life is grim towards the end regardless if they’ve been exported or simply killed in an abattoir. Both are unpleasant for the animals

    • Not necessarily David! Many of the animals are being transported live to have their throats cut for Muslim Halal meat! This is totally unnecessary, as Halal meat is sold here in the UK after the animal has first been stunned, then it has its throat cut to bleed it to death! Just another religious superstition unfortunately, but Jews do it to!

  2. At last a Hope this cruel rotten treatment to live animals must stop and this will happen with the support or all these
    Efforts is there a charity’s donations collection at the Gallery

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