New documentary sheds light on shocking reality of live animal transport in Europe and beyond

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New documentary sheds light on shocking reality of live animal transport in Europe and beyond

22 November 2017
News
This new documentary shows that the situation is more urgent than ever and we need an EU-wide solution to end this inhumane trade.

The German public service television broadcaster ZDF has released a shocking documentary on the transport of live animals in Europe and beyond. [1] This new documentary confirms once more the brutal reality behind live transport and the continuous breaches of European animal welfare law and international agreements [2].

The evidence presented by ZDF demonstrates once more – if ever we needed it – that the EU Transport Regulation (1/2005) is not fit for purpose, poorly implemented and enforced. [3] Earlier this year, MEPs, Member States and Commission officials already reacted to compelling footage released by the #StopTheTrucks campaign, revealing the failure of the EU and member states to properly monitor live animal export within and across EU borders. MEPs reacted with a call to the European Parliament to launch an official inquiry into this trade, which involves unavoidable suffering and unethical treatment of animals. In light of this new footage, it becomes even more urgent for MEPs to support an official EP inquiry, which should look into the current live animal trade practices and make clear recommendations on how to properly enforce the Transport Regulation outside the EU. The European Court of Justice reiterated twice the need to apply the Regulation provision also when animals consignments leave EU. These two legally binding judgments have been so far disregarded. [4]

There is a glimmer of hope among all this suffering. In recent months the European Commission has stepped up its efforts and has put animal transport back on the EU agenda as a priority animal welfare issue. Eurogroup for Animals welcomes the recent setup of a sub-group dedicated to live transport on the EU Platform for Animal Welfare, which was first announced during a meeting with the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety in September. This sub-group should focus on the need to revise the current system and rules governing long distance animal transport, and put in place a long term strategy to replace this inhumane trade. [5]

Every day investigators are confronted with this terrible reality: animals are transported for up to several days or weeks without receiving feed, water and veterinary care. When it comes to live export to third countries, the situation is even worse, especially during the summer – when animals can remain confined on trucks with temperatures sometimes exceeding 39 degrees, often without water. At the Bulgarian/Turkish border, a hotspot for European live exports, animals have to wait inside the trucks without any shade, food, water, or clean bedding for hours or days before continuing their journey. Even drivers admit that is really hard to transport animals in such conditions. Their ordeal does not end at the border. At the end of their horrible journeys, the animals will be slaughtered in ways that are in breach of OIE standards, with violent handling and restraining methods that include eye stabbing and tendon slashing.

Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals say, “We welcome the recognition from the European Commission, MEPs and Member States of the need to significantly improve the welfare of animals in transit within and outside the EU. But we are not there yet. This new documentary shows that the situation is more urgent than ever and we need an EU-wide solution to end this inhumane trade’’.

Notes:

[1] ©Karremann. Link to Trailer.  Link to the documentary (DE)

[2] The ZDF documentary was based on investigations conducted by Animals International and Animal Welfare Foundation│Tierschutzbund Zürich

[3] Eurogroup for Animals interpretation of Court of Justice judgement in case C-424/13, and Court of Justice judgement in case in case C-383/16. 

[4] Eurogroup for Animals briefing on live transport 

Eurogroup for Animals press release (official handover of 1 million #StopTheTrucks signatures)

[5] Eurogroup for Animals summary of second meeting of EU Platform on Animal Welfare (10 November 2017) 

This new documentary shows that the situation is more urgent than ever and we need an EU-wide solution to end this inhumane trade.