Harbour to end trade in animals

Click to follow
The resurgent animal welfare movement celebrated a crucial victory over the livestock exporters last night as the Shoreham harbour authority announced that it was ending the controversial trade.

After a heated emergency board meeting lasting three and a half hours, the authority caved in to demonstrators demands to stop the export of live animals through the Sussex port within the next three months, when existing contracts expire.

The decision raises the prospect that other ports involved will consider following suit as protests spread.

A spokesman for the port authority said: "Immediate talks have been arranged with the company [ITF} to discuss the arrangements to be made for the operation of the contracts for the remainder of its term.

"The aim of these talks will be to end the series of adverse consequences which have begun to affect every user of the port, the personnel at the port and the Sussex Police Authority,"

he said.

Livestock exporters said the Shoreham decision would devastate their industry.

"The end of the trade through Shoreham has put a very different complexion on the issue because Plymouth will be next," said David Muir, spokesman for the Anglo European Livestock Exporters' Association.

Mr Muir said it was possible that farmers would now begin slaughtering new-born calves themselves. "We've already had the situation where farmers have rung markets to ask whether it's worth bringing in their calves or whether they should shoot them at home."

Protesters at Shoreham were celebrating their victory last night, no doubt with comedian Spike Milligan who joined them in the driving wind and icy rain yesterday.

"Everybody's now going down to Brightlinsea to continue the campaign," said Beryl Ferrers-Guy, an accountant from Hove.

Mark Glover, a spokesman for Respect for Animals, who organised the original ferry boycott leading to the suspension of the trade, said it was a "great victory for the protesters".

"It's established a precedent. Plymouth and Brightlinsea are next."

Labour's pledge, page 3

Sleepy port comes alive, page 3

A resident's view, page 18

The full story, page 25