Italy: Inspection of long distance transports of lambs and sheep
Together with our partner organisation, Animal Equality Italy, our team is on the lookout for trucks transporting lambs. Together we want to inspect long distance transports of lambs for animal welfare violations. Especially, before the Christian holidays, Easter and Christmas, many lambs are exported to Italy for slaughter. Our teams are on investigation for four days in total.
The first truck that we spot is transporting lambs from Hungary on four decks. However, we cannot observe any irregularities strong enough to get the police involved to stop the truck. On our third investigation day we can convince the police to stop a truck on the motorway near Venice. However, the drivers are behaving so aggressively that the police ask us to leave the inspection site for their own safety. The next truck that we can stop with the help of police is transporting lambs on four decks. The lambs are very young and certainly unweaned. They are bleating loudly and are licking the side bars of the truck – a clear sign of hunger stress. Even though the lambs cannot be supplied with food onboard the truck, the police are not able to issue a fine. The truck holds an official authorisation issued by a veterinary authority. Therefore, the truck is allowed to continue its journey to the slaughterhouse in central Italy – hungry lambs on board.
On our last investigation day, we follow a truck with adult sheep to a small stable near Venice. We notice that the trucks’ roof is elevated, meaning that the celling height is too low. When we confront the transporter, he tells us that he rather prefers to pay a fine for rising the roof of the truck than transporting less sheep. Our team will forward all documented animal welfare violations to the competent authorities.