Poland | Transport of unweaned calves from Poland to Italy
We follow a long-distance transport of unweaned calves from an assembly centre in the north of Poland to three different fattening farms in northern Italy. The calves are approx. four weeks old. Many are from Lithuania and have already been transported for several hours before being reloaded in Poland. On the way to Italy, the calves are not supplied with liquid after nine hours of transport as required by the EU animal transport regulation. It is not possible in practice to provide adequate feeding (i.e. warm milk replacer or electrolyte solution) to unweaned animals on board the vehicles. During a short stop, we observe the hungry calves mooing loudly and licking different parts of the trailer. The ceiling height is insufficient and several of the taller animals are touching the ceiling with their heads. One calf has a severe eye infection with purulent discharge.
Upon arrival at the first farm near Venice the next day, the maximum permitted transport time of 19 hours has already been exceeded. The handling during unloading is very rough. The driver keeps hitting the exhausted animals with a plastic paddle and we observe the farmer pulling them by their tails and ears. The calves which are unloaded at the third farm near Verona have been confined inside the vehicle for more than 28 hours. We are not allowed to see the unloading and therefore do not know in what condition the animals arrived.
We are going to send a complaint to the EU Commission with the aim of ending long-distance transport of unweaned animals.