Thanet Council considers Ramsgate Port animal exports

image captionThe NFU said the shipments were "inter-community trade"

A local authority is considering seeking legal advice on whether it can lawfully ban the shipments of live animals through the Port of Ramsgate.

Thanet District Council has said it objects on "moral grounds", but because Ramsgate is an "open port" it has no powers to ban the trade.

Now the authority is meeting later to discuss a motion proposing the council seek legal advice.

Campaigners against the shipments said they would lobby the meeting.

'Sickening trade'

Protest organiser Ian Driver, a district councillor, said it was a "sickening trade".

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) has said animals are well treated.

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.

Thanet District Council said an unnamed company started exporting from the Port of Ramsgate in May.

The authority estimates legal advice would cost up to £1,500.

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