Spain-animal transports: “We cannot be in the queue on an issue like this”

Posted on 07/27/2021 by Sonia Crespo

Overcrowded, sick and without water, what are the most common violations of the transport of animals in Spain?

Animal Equality has submitted allegations to the Royal Decree on the transport of animals prepared by the Government.

The main demand requested is the detention of the export of animals outside the European Union for not being able to guarantee their welfare.
The transport of injured or sick animals, in obsolete boats, long waits under extreme temperatures or lack of water or food, are some of the infringements of EU legislation that are observed regularly.

Animal Equality has just presented allegations to the Public Consultation Proposal prior to the modification of the Royal Decree on Animal Health and Protection Standards during Transport called by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

We reviewed with the executive director of the Animal Equality Foundation, Silvia Barquero, what is the current situation of animal transport and what are her allegations.

The main one of these requests is to stop the trade and export of live animals outside the EU.

Reports from the European Commission, Animal Welfare Foundation investigations and their own, certify that the application of European legislation on the protection of animals during transport has been completely deficient in Spain for 30 years.

“We cannot be in the queue on an issue like this,” says Barquero.

These studies show that the welfare of animals during these long journeys cannot be guaranteed. Furthermore, in the case of the Middle East and North Africa, they are not slaughtered in accordance with the international standards of the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health).

Being euthanized in most cases without prior stunning, bled to death while conscious.

Offenses in road transport

The main infringements of EU law regularly observed in road transport include:

– The transport of unsuitable animals; injured, sick or pregnant.
-The densities in the transports higher than those allowed and even lack of space to keep the head upright.
-Excesses in the maximum allowed temperature.
-Lack of water or drinking fountains that do not work.
-The rest requirements are not met.
-Lack of a suitable bed where to rest or presence of excessive dirt.
-Transport of lactating animals in journeys of more than 8 hours without receiving the corresponding feeding.

Infractions in maritime transport

In the case of maritime transport, the infractions are mainly focused on the poor condition of the boats and the lack of care for the animals:

-The transport of animals is allowed to boats not considered suitable, of very low quality.
55% of approved livestock vessels in the EU are licensed in countries blacklisted by the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
They are considered high risk in relation to maritime safety.

-Transport of unfit animals, which are injured or sick. Animals are loaded even when inspections reveal deficiencies and violations of regulations are not penalized.

-The loading of the animals is carried out with violence. They are beaten, kicked and dragged even using electric batons. In cases where the animal cannot move, it is tied by one leg and lifted by a crane.

-Long waits before boarding under extreme temperatures and in the sun.
European regulations and the Plan of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food state that a trip should not be authorized if the temperature inside the vehicle exceeds 30ºC and it must even be sanctioned if it exceeds 35ºC.

Serious Infractions have been taking place during the last 30 years in Spain

While some Member States have improved their implementation, others, such as Spain, continue to give very little importance to enforcing Regulation 1/2005.

“Animal Equality hopes that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will take into account its allegations and that the new legislation will lead to significant improvements in the living conditions of animals. The suffering they suffer during transport, especially the animals sent to the Middle East and North Africa, cannot continue ”, points out Silvia Barquero, director of Animal Equality.

Animal Equality started a petition to ban the export of live animals that has already been signed by more than 45,000 people.


And I mean…Live animal transports are part of the sick system of profit-oriented factory farming.

There where the highest profits can be achieved, where the cost of feed and wages are low or the animal welfare standards are even more negligent, that’s where the vans drive their “goods”: caged, stressed and frightened creatures.

Born in one country, fattened in the other, slaughtered in the next – the normal criminal process in the animal exploitation industry.

“Transport losses”, ie animals that died in agony on the transport, are already factored in in this brutal business. They are “not financially significant” and are therefore unimportant.

All over the world, dead cows and calves are washed up on beaches.
Many animals do not survive the cruel transport or collapse from exhaustion after days of torture. They are simply thrown overboard during the transport of the animals.

These cases represent very clear violations of current EU animal protection law, but none are punished.

Although there is a ruling by the European Court of Justice that EU law and thus animal welfare requirements must be observed up to the destination of the animals, this is never implemented in practice, not even the few regulations that exist are reliably adhered to

Most of the time, food, litter and drinking water are saved, because additional weight means higher transport costs.

Within the EU, the transport regulation stipulates a maximum duration of eight hours per transport, but due to many exemptions this is never observed.
Pigs can be transported for up to 24 hours and cattle for up to 29 hours.
Day-old chicks can even be transported for up to 60 hours!

It is true that the subsidies supported by the European Union for the export of beef cattle to third countries have meanwhile been canceled again; However, breeding cattle or pregnant heifers are not affected by this decision.

Their export to third countries continues to receive financial support from Brussels. In the last few years there has been systematic subsidy fraud in which slaughter cattle are redeclared as breeding animals.

Why do we need EU law on animal transport if it is constantly being broken?
Anyone can give the answer, but it will definitely be filled with anger, despair and reproach.

One thing is clear, however: as always, something will only happen if there is enough public pressure.

Only together can we achieve something against this cruel system of animal exploitation, which the EU continues to allow and promote.

My best regards to all, Venus

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