Comment: I was so disappointed to fined that Onderwater was not charged with actual animal cruelty over the chilled box meats incidents. He should have been as he certainly put the life of those poor sheep at risk. Laura Sandys the local MP at the time and James Paice both thought the same, see below –
All Written Ministerial Statements on 1 Dec 2011 -James Paice
During a debate on 24 October 2011, Hansard, column 146, I made reference to a Mr Onderwater being prosecuted for cruelty following the earlier reference by Laura Sandys to business men who were involved with the operation of a livestock ferry at Ramsgate who had been convicted of animal cruelty. I regret the information I gave was not accurate and I wish to apologise to the House.
Mr Onderwater runs a Dutch registered company called Onderwater Agneaux BV. He pleaded guilty on behalf of his company at Folkestone magistrates’ court on 5 July 2010 to six offences of not displaying any sign on his vehicles indicating the presence of live animals contrary to article 6(c) of the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 and article 6(3) of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport. The prosecutor was the trading standards department of Kent county council.
Mr Onderwater had also mis-described the cargo of live animals in consignment notes as seafood, frozen meat and boxed meat: the Crown court found this was in order to deceive the ferry companies. Mr Onderwater had been informed on several occasions that he was contravening the legislation by not displaying such signs yet the company continued to commit the same offence in the two months following first detection.
On 1 September 2009, 320 sheep were transported described as meat.
On 30 September 2009, an unspecified number of sheep described as meat for further processing.
On 11 November 2009, 240 sheep described as meat.
On 14 November 2009, 307 sheep described as seafood— Mr Onderwater was driving this lorry.
Also on 14 November 2009, 286 sheep described as boxed meat.
On 19 November 2009, 270 sheep described as frozen meat.
He was fined £1,000 for each offence, with costs of £4,355.
Mr Onderwater represented his company at an appeal against this sentence at Canterbury Crown court on 10 August 2010. On appeal the total fine remained at £6,000 but costs were reduced by £680 to £3,675. His Honour Judge O’Sullivan fined the company £400 for the first offence, £800 for the second offence, £1,000 each for the third, fourth and fifth offences and £1,800 for the sixth offence.
His Honour Judge O’Sullivan said in his sentencing remarks that there was no offence which involved “mistreatment of animals” but that the company’s persistent offending despite being caught made it quite clear that the company had no intention of trying to abide by the regulations. The judge noted that there is a wider use for these signs to indicate the presence of live animals on vehicles and that it is important, for instance, in case of an accident that the cargo can be identified as being livestock so that the necessary measures for safeguarding the welfare of the animals can be put into operation.
Still busy at the demos in Ramsgate but have to say I think we are closer to an end to live exports for slaughter and further fattening than we have ever been. So hope so. Jane x
Thanks for the lowdown on the consignments Jane – and still he is allowed to operate by the Dutch authorities ! – Mark.