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Dehydration & Death: Animals Suffer In Transport

26 July 2011

EU & TURKEY - An investigation has been carried out by Eyes on Animals, the Animal Welfare Foundation and Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), looking into the export of bulls, pregnant heifers and sheep from a number of EU Member States to Turkey. The findings were horrific, says CIWF.

These animals have come from Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece and Latvia with the distances travelled as far as 2,200km in some cases. 44 animal transports were checked at the border between Bulgaria and Turkey and extreme welfare problems leading to severe animal suffering were discovered.

Peter Stevenson, Chief Policy Advisor of Compassion in World Farming says: “We are calling for the European Commission to suspend the export of animals to Turkey as a matter of urgency in order to prevent further suffering by EU animals. “Indeed, we believe that this inhumane and unnecessary trade should be brought to an end altogether. The long distances and high temperatures are too extreme to guarantee even the most minimal animal welfare standards.”

Delays lasting hours, even days, regularly occur at the border while the trucks wait for veterinary and customs clearance. During the delays animals are left in blistering heat on stationary vehicles without sufficient water and food. We witnessed deeply disturbing welfare conditions:

  • the animals were exhausted and often had to lie down in a thick layer of their faeces


  • the animals were desperate with thirst,


  • the ammonia smell was unbearable;


  • the temperatures inside the vehicles were measured at up to 48°C and in one case we measured 58°C in a Bulgarian sheep truck . EU cattle are not accustomed to the extreme summer heat of Turkey and become weak and even collapse.

Many animals were unloaded at the border to check their weight or sex. They were not given any water or food while they were off the vehicle and even unfit animals that could not walk were forced back on to the trucks.

In one case a bull that collapsed on the ramp was reloaded even though he could not move at all. After shoving, kicking and hitting failed to make him move, the ramp was lifted and the animal slid back into the truck.

During the journey to Ankara a second bull was found lying on the vehicle floor in agony with a broken front leg.

The suffering engendered by this trade is made worse by the fact that approximately 90 per cent of the transports that we inspected were in breach of EU Regulation 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport.

Often the animals are crammed in with insufficient floor space and have too little headroom which impairs ventilation. In many cases the water taps are not working or are not turned on or the water tank is empty. Even when the water system is working, the overcrowding means that many animals cannot reach the water devices.

The Commission was alerted to these problems by the welfare groups on 5 April 2011 and again on 27 May.

"We urged the Commission to take action as a matter of urgency as extreme levels of suffering were likely to occur if the long delays at the border between Bulgaria and Turkey continued during the hot summer months. We were dismayed to find, when we were at the border earlier this month that the Commission and the Member States concerned have failed to take any effective action to address these problems."

As a result of this failure, EU animals continue to experience immense suffering.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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