Many of you know that live animal transport (exports) are one of our main issues.
Here are some stories and links, and videos, from ‘Animal Equality’. There is a lot to take on, and so at the end I have given a link for you to complete the reading.
The top right ‘wire globe’ (in the link) allows you to convert translation into several languages if you desire.
What are we doing to stop the transport of live animals?
The transport of live animals is one of the topics on which our team of researchers has focused the most in the last 10 years of research.
After a miserable life on a farm, every animal destined for human consumption ends up in the slaughterhouse.
But first, he is forced to endure another intolerable injustice: the transport phase.
A suffering that can last for days, weeks, months: an absurd journey towards death.
How many times have you traveled next to a truck from which you could glimpse, through small slits, animals crowded inside?
If you’ve ever encountered their eyes, you know what it means to see a living being suffer and not be able to do anything to ease their pain.
Because that is our job, what we have been doing tirelessly for more than 15 years around the world: we fight to end the suffering of animals raised for food.
To combat the transport of live animals, we are moving on several fronts: research is not enough, we need a precise strategy and that the institutions perceive us as authorised partners.
Here’s what we’re doing to counter the transport of live animals:
We have filed a complaint with the Directorate-General for Health of Agricultural Production;
We have filed a complaint that “is valid for an entire country”;
We have denounced and sanctioned non-compliant carriers whenever possible;
We have conducted 10 investigations in 10 years;
Thanks to our research work and political pressure, the Committee of Inquiry into the Transport of Live Animals (ANIT) was set up in the European Parliament;
We are working with ENPA and the Ministry of Health to increase roadside inspections.
THE LAWSUIT FOR IRREGULARITIES IN THE TRANSPORT OF LAMBS TO SAUDI ARABIA
Thanks to the images obtained during the shipment of lambs in the Port of Cartagena bound for Saudi Arabia that revealed acts of mistreatment, we were able to file a lawsuit with the General Directorate of Health of Agricultural Production.
The workers resorted to violence to force the lambs to move.
These practices are in breach of the European Union Regulation on the protection of animals during transport.
In addition to this demand, we also initiated a petition addressed to the European Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries demanding the end of long-distance transport that has already been signed by more than 46,000 people.
THE COMPLAINT AGAINST SPAIN
THE CASE OF DRIFTING BOATS
The case that has led us to the decision to file a complaint with the European Commission against Spain is the one that affects the ships Elbeik and Karim Allah, which left the Spanish ports of Tarragona and Cartagena, respectively, in the spring of 2021.
On board these ships were hundreds of thousands of animals, specifically 895 cattle in the Karim Allah and 1789 calves in the Elbeik. The animals were to be sold in Tripoli (Libya), but once they were denied disembarkation due to an alleged animal disease, the boats were leftadrift and remained so for more than two months.
During these very long weeks, the animals traveled locked in pens in chilling hygienic conditions, going back and forth from one country to another, without the possibility of being unloaded in a port or even being able to rest or feed.
TheSpanish authorities – which would be responsible for enforcing EC Regulation 1/2005 regulating the protection of live animals during transport – did not take any measures to put an immediate end to the extreme suffering of animals on board.
All this despite the fact that the authorities were aware of the situation.
Already on February 18, 2021, when the karim Allah ship was near the port of Cagliari, Animal Equality – in collaboration with ENPA and the Foundation for Animal Welfare – sent a petition to the Italian Ministry of Health requesting an immediate inspection of the ship and livestock on board.
Following our request, the Ministry had scheduled an official inspection, but the ship left Italian territorial waters before it could be done.
In addition to this report, Animal Equality, again in collaboration with ENPA, sent two petitions to the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture requesting urgent action to safeguard the health of animals still alive in karim Allah.
However, the Spanish Ministry did not react with the speed required by the case and did not immediately force the animals to be docked and unloaded, despite the fact that EC Regulation 1/2005 considers that it is a perfectly legitimate measure in case of infringement.
This decision came much later: the Karim Allah was forced to dock in the port of Cartagena after weeks of travel and the Elbeik, also in the same port, after three months of its departure.
In both cases, all the surviving animals were sacrificed, while others, in both the Karim Allah and the Elbeik, died on board. Some animals were also torn to pieces and thrown into the sea, according to the sources.
The condition of the animals was terrible: the cattle were injured, hungry, in obvious pain and dehydrated; some were in a state of stupor, unable to open their eyes or respond to stimuli.
Equally shocking were the conditions of the boats: the pens were overcrowded, in sanitary conditions so extremely inadequate that the animals could not even lie down; the pens were built with iron pipes with rusty and broken areas; the drinking troughs were closed and fodder and straw were totally absent, with numerous rodents present on the decks.
Animal Equality, in collaboration with ENPA, filed a complaint with the European Commission against Spain, pointing out the incorrect procedures and omissions carried out by the authorities of the ports of Tarragona and Cartagena, which should have controlled compliance with the minimum standards of protection of animals on board the ships Elbeik and Karim Allah.
We have asked the European Commission for an audit on the correct application of the Regulation on the protection of animal welfare during transport by the Spanish authorities and the possible opening of a procedure for infringement of European legislation.
In addition to bringing these testimonies to light, we have done much more:
We protest against the Spanish and port authorities, even filing a complaint with the European authorities against Spain for incorrect procedures and omissions on the part of the port authorities, which should have monitored compliance with the minimum animal protection standards. These practices are widely in breach of the EU regulation on the protection of animals during transport, which explicitly prohibits excessively long journeys without adequate veterinary care, food and water;
We have also submitted a petition to the European Parliament, asking MEPs to take the measures they deem appropriate to ensure compliance with EU legislation on the protection of animals during transport, with particular reference to their export by sea from Spain, and other affected Member States, to third countries.
UPDATE: THE COMMISSION HAS RESPONDED TO US!
A year has passed since our complaint against Spain to the European Commission and the sending of the petition to the European Parliament, which followed the case of the ships Elbeik and Karim Allah, left adrift for months by the omissions and incorrect procedures applied by the competent authorities.
A news that has confirmed, for the umpteenth time, the serious violations that the Spanish authorities continue to commit of European legislation on the welfare of live animals transported.
The Commission has finally responded to the comments we included in the petition to the European Parliament, specifying some measures it has taken or intends to take.
The European Commission has informed us that:
It will carry out 4 new audits, i.e. in-depth assessments, during 2022, including one in Spain;
The Commission has carried out audits in the Member States responsible for the authorisations granted to the Elbeik and Karim Allah vessels, namely Romania and Croatia, in order to clarify possible shortcomings related to the approval of the two vessels. What is clear from these findings is that these two vessels are not currently authorised to transport live animals;
The Commission is developing rules to step up official controls on cattle ships and at exit points from EU ports.
The Commission also gave us important news about Spain’s intentions:
“Spain has submitted to the Commission a series of corrective measures, including its protocol on the protection of animals during the export of livestock by ship, its new national legislation on the welfare of animals during transport and its working agreement with the General Directorate of the Merchant Marine of the Ministry of Transport to help the competent authority to carry out official controls for the granting of authorisations to ships.”
We are sincerely pleased that our request has been accepted and that Parliament has asked the Commission for explanations: although on this occasion the demands of animals have been taken into account, our work does not end there.
In fact, we have requested a copy of this document to know the deadlines and to be able to verify that these actions are really executed by Spain.
PENALTIES FOR NON-COMPLIANT CARRIERS
The work of denouncing that we have carried out over the years has been crucial not only in paving the way for inspections by the authorities and obtaining sanctions, but also in supporting political and media pressure, in denouncing those responsible for animal offences and – very importantly – also in calling on the European Parliament to shed light on infringements of transport legislation.
THE FIRST COMPLAINT
With our latest investigation at the Slovenian border to document animals destined for Italian slaughterhouses, we managed to denounce and fine two transporters.
After constant surveillance to intercept suspicious vehicles, our investigation team discovered a truck from Hungary, chased it and quickly reported it to the traffic police.
And the following irregularities were found:
The drinking fountain system did not work and lost water, but not only that, the system was prepared for pigs and not for sheep;
The temperature control system inside the vehicle was damaged;
The space for the lambs was insufficient: the animals could not even stand;
The carrier was sanctioned for the first two points with a total fine of more than 3000 euros.
In addition to those “officially” recognized by veterinarians called by the police, there were many other problems:
There were animals of different species and ages in the same transport;
The vehicle had metal parts and internal obstacles, a possible risk to the animals transported;
The lambs were in an obvious state of stress.
We have a duty to show and document everything, even what escapes inspection and what is not taken into account by the authorities, because every detail represents real suffering for these animals.
THE SECOND COMPLAINT