Live animal exports 'to start from Port of Ramsgate'

Shipments of live animals are to pass through the Port of Ramsgate despite the opposition of the port's owners.

Thanet District Council, which runs the Kent port, said an unnamed company is due to start exporting to Europe.

Mark Seed, from the council, said it objected on "moral grounds" but because it was an "open port" the council had no powers to ban the trade.

Frank Langrish, from the National Farmers' Union (NFU), said farmers needed to earn a living.

No legal powers

Mr Seed, who is a commercial services manager at Thanet, said: "If a boat can come in and there's capacity and space and what they are doing is legal trade, the owner of the port does not have the right to say you can't use it.

"It's there for people to use, so unfortunately the council can't say no."

Britain started exporting live calves to the continent for veal and beef again in 2006, after the lifting of a decade-long EU ban imposed to prevent the spread of BSE.

Live exports currently take place at the Port of Dover where animal rights protesters have held regular demonstrations.

Mr Langrish, a member of the livestock board of the NFU, said: "This is not export, it's inter-community trade.

"The advantage is that you have a much higher value market place. Europeans pay more money for the meat.

"Is farming not a business? If a farmer can receive a higher value for his stock, then that's good for everybody."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites