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Push for one million signatures on eight hour animal export petition

A petition demanding an eight hour limit for animal exports has attracted almost one million signatures.

Catherine Bearder, a Liberal Democrat MEP for the South East, will meet campaigners on Thursday (December 22) to help hit the target before the petition's deadline next month.

The petition is an EU Citizens' Initiative which - if one million signatures are gathered - would force the European Commission to consider new legislation.

Catherine will visit campaigners in Ramsgate where there have been shipments involving 53,123 sheep and 7,717 calves between May and October.

She said: "It is completely unacceptable to inflict on animals the degree of discomfort caused by long journeys.

"We must end this cruel practice and by getting one million people to sign up to the petition."

The aim is to get the EU to toughen up its rules, which still allows animals to travel long distances if rest and refreshment is provided.

Ian Driver, a Thanet and Ramsgate councillor, and founder of Thanet Against Live Exports, has been involved with the campaign in Ramsgate since June 2011.

He said: "It's really encouraging that almost one million people across Europe have signed the petition and shows how strongly people feel about the issue."

Catherine added: "It is surely better for animals to be slaughtered at home - which will mean business to British abattoirs - and exported as British meat.

"At the moment, there are also loopholes which means animals can be labeled as 'produced' in a country, when they are not reared, but simply imported and slaughtered."

Ramsgate has been used for the last 12 months following damage to a dock at Dover.

Catherine and Ian will be joined by Clive Hart, leader of Thanet District Council, at Ramsgate Town Council office on Thursday.

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