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Investigation reveals brutal treatment of European exported livestock


Today the organizations Animals International (AI), Tierschutzbund Zurich/Animal Welfare Foundation (TSB/AWF) and Eurogroup for Animals, part of which is the Bulgarian office of FOUR PAWS, released shocking footage showing breaches of European animal welfare legislation and international agreements concerning live animal transport from Europe to Turkey, the Middle East and Northern Africa, as well as their slaughter. 

The animal welfare organizations conducted an eight-month investigation from June 2016 to February 2017 documenting the horrific mishandling and slaughter of livestock, including cattle and sheep, during their long journey by land and sea to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Egypt. Every year, around 2 million cattle are exported to these countries, although their established practices in the transportation and slaughter of animals are far from the accepted norms in Europe and in violation of the European legislation and international agreements. The investigation is part of the campaign #StopTheTrucks of Eurogroup for Animals to ban the transport of livestock over long distances. 

According to the director of Eurogroup for Animals Reineke Hameleers the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg has ruled that the EU’s Transport Regulations also apply outside EU borders, until animals reach their final destinations. Yet this ruling is not being abided to and animals continue to be exported in horrible conditions. “Not only is this illegal, it is also immoral and unnecessary as all of the cited destination countries are among big importers of frozen meat. There is absolutely no excuse for putting the exported live animals through unnecessary suffering.”

The authors of the investigation are unconditional that it demonstrates the inability of the administration in the EU to control the transport of animals. The results will be submitted to the European Commission representatives and to EU Ministers.

The current investigation is the second similar one after a detailed report by Eyes on Animals and Tierschutzbund Zurich/Animal Welfare Foundation on the violations during export of livestock at the border between Bulgaria and Turkey at Kapitan Andreevo – Kapikule. According to this report in the period between 2010 and 2016 mass violations were found consisting of transport at high temperatures, lack of sufficient water, food, no resting times at control posts, transporting of too many animals, some of which are not able to withstand the long journey, not enough space for movement of the cattle inside the vehicle, inadequate infrastructure at the border, exceeded maximum permitted journey times. The report also states that due to the violations of the legal requirements many animals die on the road without veterinary care. The authors claim that the blame for the current situation is not only on the exporters and carriers of animals, but on the authorities controlling the borders. In Bulgaria it is the Bulgarian Food and Safety Agency.    

Eurogroup for Animal call on their followers to support the petition for banning the transport of livestock over long distances