Animal-exports firm fined

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The Independent Online
The RSPCA yesterday welcomed a court's decision to fine a live animal exporter almost pounds 10,000 after a cargo of 249 calves was transported for almost two days with only a 90-minute stop.

Andy Foxcroft, an RSPCA officer, said the fine by Dover magistrates' court against Dutch exporter Nicolay BV rewarded a covert surveillance operation which had involved tracking a lorry from the Irish Republic to Barcelona via Kent. Animal rights protesters described the fine as "derisory", however, and said it amounted to less than pounds 1 per calf for each hour that they were in transit.

The court was told that on 8 June last year a cargo of calvesleft Adare in Ireland, bound for Barcelona. The journey involved a ferry crossing to Fishguard and then non-stop by road to a resting place near Dover, where the calves were unloaded for 90 minutes.

They were then put back on to the three-decker lorry, and transported across the Channel to Calais where they were driven non-stop to Barcelona. The journey took a total of 47 hours.

British rules stipulate a maximum unbroken journey time of 15 hours, and no Continental country permits more than 24 hours in one stretch. Nicolay BV said in its defence: "The company expresses a sense of shame over this. It cannot explain how it seems to have so palpably failed to adhere to the rules."