Poland | Germany | Trailing of three transports with unweaned calves
From 16th to 17th of June, teams from AWF|TSB trailed three transports with calves from Lithuania and from Poland to Spain and to the Netherlands. All transports were carrying unweaned calves in the age of less than 8 weeks. Those animals are still depending on milk, milk replacer or electrolyte solution and on special feeding equipment and handling.
According to the Regulation 1/2005, unweaned calves should be supplied with adequate liquid after nine hours of transport, but the transports observed only stopped after nine hours for approximately an hour and turned on the water system. The vehicles were only equipped with metal drinkers designed for pigs and only cold water could be offered to the calves, which is not appropriate for them. The young animals had no clue how to use the metal drinking nipples and were observed licking the bars of the trailer and mooing loudly.
In Germany, we asked police to stop and inspect the transports. One of the trucks with calves was on the 3.000 km route from Lithuania to Spain, with one 24 hours stop foreseen at a control post in Ibbenbüren, near the German/Dutch border. This is the only time the calves would receive appropriate feed during the 62 hours long journey.
Another truck was stopped by the highway police Berlin after 13 hours of transport and inspected by an official veterinarian. Due to the fact that the calves had not been supplied with appropriate liquid after nine hours of transport and because they still had more than 10 hours ahead of them to a control post in Soppe-le-Bas, France, the official veterinarian decided to have the calves unloaded to give them feed and a rest. At the stable they were fed manually with fresh milk by more than ten employees, who first had to teach them how to use the rubber nipples. Some calves were too weak to stand up and were fed while lying on the floor.
We proved once again that the long-distance transport of unweaned calves is not practicable without exposing these animals to conditions that are causing undue suffering to them, due to the deprivation of food over a long period of time and subsequent welfare problems. This often results in weakness or even in the death of animals. There is more than enough scientific evidence supporting our findings.