Port to continue animals trade

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The Independent Online
The trade in live animals for slaughter will continue through Shoreham in West Sussex despite assurances last week by the port authority that the trade was to end, write Danny Penman and Glenda Cooper.

Shoreham has been the scene of three weeks of protests against the trade, often requiring more than 1,000 police officers to ensure the livestock lorries could enter the port. The police operation has so far cost an estimated £3.5m with an extra £4.5m already budgeted for.

Citing the "serious adverse consequences" the trade was having on other harbour users, the port authority announced last week it would halt the trade when the current contract with the exporter, ITF, ran out in March. But the port has since decided it will accept the trade on a day-by-day basis. Philip Lacey, general manager, said: "As far as I'm concerned, the law of the open ports applies whether or not there is a contract. I see no reason for the trade to be stopped; the degree of disruption has beenunfortunate, but not enough to prejudice the rights of other users."

Leaders of the campaign are now calling on supporters to help renew the blockade.

Following recent protests at Swansea airport against the trade, the management decided yesterday to stop veal calf flights to the Continent. A spokesman said: "Undoubtedly this will be hailed by the objectors as a victory. It's a victory for those who have used unlawful means to interrupt inter-European trade."

At Coventry airport, Phoenix Aviation - whose plane crashed in December, killing five - succeeded yesterday in flying 110 calves to Amsterdam, despite a delay caused by protesters.

Protests were expected to spread to the Continent today with a demonstration at Nieuwpoort in Belgium, where a shipment of animals from Brightlingsea, Essex, was due to arrive.