Poland | Germany | France | Transport of unweaned calves
A team from AWF|TSB and our French partner organisation Welfarm follows a truck that is transporting calves from Poland to Spain. The calves are younger than eight weeks and are therefore considered as unweaned. Three of them are just 15 days old. According to the EU animal transport regulation 1/2005, unweaned calves must be given liquid which is appropriate in quality to their age after nine hours of transport. This would be temperate milk, milk replacer or electrolyte solution. As feeding the calves is not possible on board the truck, the drivers try to drive to a control post (stable) in France without stopping – a distance of 1480 km. In Germany near the French border, we ask the highway police from Karlsruhe to stop and inspect the transport. A second AWF|TSB team joins in, accompanied by a TV team from SWR. The drivers immediately turn on the drinking system. However, the vehicle is only equipped with metal drinkers that are designed for pigs and supply cold water, which is not suitable for young calves. The thirsty animals do not know how to use these drinking devices, and we observe them licking the metal nipples and bars of the truck, mooing loudly. As the calves have not been supplied with liquid after nine hours of transport, as prescribed, the transport company is punished by a fine. After the police inspection, we follow the truck to the unloading at the control post in Soppe-le-Bas, France. Meanwhile, the animals have not been fed for 22 hours. Over and over again, we document that during long-distance transport of unweaned calves the requirements of regulation 1/2005 regarding their feeding are systematically being breached, as they are not practicable.