UK –The Animal Health and Veterinary Authority (AHVLA) has released its report on the Ramsgate incident which saw 44 animals shot and several drown.
Published today (Tuesday), the report outlines the chronological order of the events that took place and includes a policy review and key action points to prevent a repeat occurrence, but the NFU has said that questions still remain to be addressed.
A severe breakdown in communication and protocol is detailed in the report which initially saw port officials react to a crowded wagon of sheep and subsequent errors resulting in sheep drowning after being reloaded onto one wagon.
Offences apply to the sheep, which were thought to be unfit for transportation, and the vehicle used which was later termed ‘inappropriate’.
Issues around contingency plans after shipment problems had been identified are discussed in the AHVLA report which the Agency acknowledge were not suffient.
The timeline at Ramsgate Port, Kent back on 12 September link the RSPCA to the unloading of the livestock at the port.
NFU Deputy President, Meurig Raymond said: “We have been calling for this report to be released since the events in September. The report gives an insight into the events of that day but still leaves many questions to be answered, by both AHVLA and the RSPCA, who it appears exerted significant influence over government officials on the ground.”
“The NFU also still has questions about why the method of slaughter used by the RSPCA officers resulted in so much blood in the photographs that were taken and released to the media by the RSPCA. We cannot understand how the method of slaughter referred to in the report resulted in the blood patterns seen in the photographs.”
Future AHVLA action points include limiting changes allowed on journey logs once approved and to step up information sharing between the AHVLA and the Official Veterinarians (OV) who administerexport certificates.
Pledges have been made for the Agency to be on the scene of serious welfare incidents within an hour and to improve the service provided by the OV. Improvements to vehicle requirements will be undertaken across all forms of transporters.
The NFU has said it will fully digest the report and carry on working with Defra and the AHVLA to ensure that livestock is traded freely but within the confines of appropriate animal welfare controls.