Thanet Star

Who pays for this?

Who pays for all this?

Exporting live animals is expensive not just for the companies involved in the trade.

"Cost externalizing" is a socio-economical term describing how a business can maximize profit. They do this by off-loading certain costs known as "indirect costs" onto others and forcing the negative negative effects on to a third party. Brightlingsea in Essex during the mid nineties saw the cost of protests alone raise to 4 million (that's six noughts), over 1,000 complaints against the police and 421 arrests (all locals) during a nine month period.

This cost of outrage and objection is not reflected in the sale price of the exported animal meat nor in the industry estimations of cost. That's because the policing budget and by extension Essex's tax payers had to pay that particular due.

As exports resume in Thanet how many people who are aware of the extent of suffering, death and mistreatment that is required in such exports will feel able to sit and do nothing. The conscience of objectors will compel them to protest not because they want to but because they have no choice.

That means that the cost of police presence, which is there only to stop moral outrage turning to bloodshed, is a cost not paid by the customers of this British meat but by us the poeple who live here.

Protesting live exports from Ramsgate
Trust me when I tell you that if the RSPCA roundly and publicly condemns something that it is the strongest possible expression of moral disapproval regarding a technically legal activity. If simply unpopular actions by a company can cost them extensive market share as people express objection by going elsewhere what sort of objection is likely to an activity that can only be justified in terms of money?

Very few local issues in the last ten years have prompted the creation of a website (beyond a blogspot free one). Manston airport springs to mind and maybe our water supply. It should not surprise anyone that there is a dot org domain (and site) thanetagainstliveexports.org which has existed since September 2011. There is also a facebook page and an offical online petition (created Councillor Ian Driver) with over 14,000 signatures.

If it were just a few local people then that might be one thing but Compasion In World Farming, the RSPCA, World Society for the Protection of Animals and others have made it clear that the Live Export of Animals for slaughter abroad is inhumane and must be stopped.

The very same people who cost Brightlingsea millions and did significant harm to the relationship between police and the local inhabitants who participated in protests have squarely parked the fight in our backyard. They are here not because Ramsgate is special or has good connectivity by road (it could be argued we are quite isolated) they are here because no one else will allow them to use their port to export living animals to be slaughtered in some far away country.

Unsurprisingly these websites and protest pages are simply an extension of a the actions of a well motivated population who do not want to see animals exported from Thanet's ports.

We can be sure that the cost of these exports will be paid for out of our police budget. After all if 4 million were added to the cost of the export it would raise the price per animal by 20 or more. So if tax payers can pay that then the animals can be sold with a twenty pound discount without so much as a word of thanks to us.

You may also wish to ask who paid for the vet that had to put down so many animals, who pays for the inspections of the transport and who pays for the dock side storage when transports are deemed unfit for use?

The port has been forced to reopen to this trade because it has been argued that the exporters would lose customers and their business would be damaged. I put it to you, the reader, that they must be stopped because we will loose money and our police budget will be damaged resulting in a significant loss of security for people across Thanet and Kent as funds are diverted away from catching rapists, muggers and burgers and toward keeping truck drivers safe from the angry mob.

How much of the cost of this export business are we, the tax payer, will to pay for?

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