WELFARM and ANIMAL WELFARE FOUNDATION: New investigation on the transport of unweaned calves shows violation of EU law
By following a truck loaded with 155 young calves transported from Poland to the Franco-German border, investigators found that the animals were kept in the truck for 20 hours, with no breaks or unloading and no access to water and food.
Every year more than 1.3 million unweaned calves are being transported across Europe, often to end up in Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium or Italy to be fattened and slaughtered. Mostly exported from France or Germany, the animals represent what’s considered to be the by-products of the dairy industry – transported to be slaughtered and used for meat. Although Article 3 of Transport Regulation (EC Regulation (EC) 1/2005) requires animals to be transported in a way to do not cause them injuries or unnecessary suffering, numerous animal protection organisations have been exposing its systematic violation over the past decade.
WELFARM and Animal Welfare Foundation reported that the truck they followed drove 1,500 km in one day, stopping for only a couple of minutes every four hours to change the driver. Once stopped by the police on the highway the drivers falsely reported stopping every nine hours to make one hour break – an information not supported by the measuring system installed in the truck. Despite the huge fine, the police allowed the truck to continue its journey to the next checkpoint where animals were unloaded and fed.
During the police check the investigators noted that the calves, loaded on two floors without an extra inch of space, looked exhausted and thirsty. The main reason was that the calves were too young to be able to use the watering devices installed in the truck, originally designed for pigs. On the ground floor, the ceiling was so low that some calves almost couldn’t straighten their legs while many of them were suffering from a cold, experiencing running eyes and nose. The identification tags on some calves’ ears indicated they were coming from Lithuania, which meant they had already experienced a long-distance transport before being loaded on the truck followed by WELFARM and Animal Welfare Foundation.
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