Animal Transports During Heat
Temperatures of up to 40 °C, no air conditioning, far too long journeys, confinement and thirst – every summer, millions of animals suffer unspeakably on the roads of Europe during transport. With our investigations, we make their suffering visible and call on politicians and the authorities to stop animal transports during heat waves.
Is it Even Permitted to Transport Animals Over Long Distances in hot Weather?
Yes, as long as the temperature in the vehicles does not exceed 30 °C (with a 5 °C tolerance). This is prescribed by EU Regulation EC 01/2005 for animal transports over eight hours. The vehicles must also be equipped with fans that can ensure these maximum values – regardless of whether the vehicle is moving or stationary.
And is the EU Regulation Being Complied With?
In general, unfortunately not. For more than 20 years Animals' Angels has been documenting that the responsible veterinary offices still approve animal transports in the summer months if excessively high temperatures are to be expected on the way. Especially in southern Europe and on the long export routes to Asia and Africa, we regularly document transports at temperatures above 35 °C.
If an animal transport comes to a stop, for example due to traffic jams or waiting times, the temperatures in the vehicle can quickly rise by several degrees. In addition, the animals also produce heat in the vehicles. The temperature inside the vehicle is therefore almost always higher than in the surroundings. These aspects are often overlooked when planning and approving animal transports. Just like the fact that the fans in the trucks can at best only exchange air, but not effectively lower the temperature.
From What do the Animals Suffer?
At high temperatures, the animals suffer massively from so-called heat stress. Already at 30 °C, pigs have considerable problems regulating their body temperature. Involuntary, close contact with other animals due to overloading and low ceilings further aggravate the situation for the animals. They can no longer regulate their body temperature and overheat.
Often the animals remain thirsty and dehydrate. The water systems in the vehicles are regularly:
- empty, broken or switched off,
- not suitable for the species transported or unfamiliar to the animals,
- not accessible because they are obstructed or being blocked by the other animals,
- scarce and thus contested,
- contaminated with excrements.
In the worst case, the animals suffer severe health damage or die during transport.
Short Film: Heat Stress During Animal Transport
This we want to change!
- Animal transports – whether long or short distances – must be banned throughout the EU during hot summer months. This includes exports to countries outside the EU. Restricting only certain routes is not enough!
- If a short distance transport is unavoidable, it should only be carried out at night when it is cooler.
- The EU's temperature limits must be significantly lowered, depending on the species of animal.
What we do
This year we are launching a major campaign against animal transport in the summer heat, among other things:
- from May onwards, we put pressure on European ministers, veterinary offices and chief veterinarians as well as the EU Commission to take action before it is too late,,
- we are with the animals on the street in different countries to document and make visible their suffering (reports below),
- we have created an information sheet in many different languages for veterinarians, drivers and transport companies, explaining how they can avoid heat stress during transport,
- we have created a handbook for police officers in which we give practical tips on how to deal with animal transports in high temperatures,
- e have sent letters and information material to various border and police stations and transport companies in the EU.
What you can do
- Show your solidarity with the animals and increase public pressure: Take a photo with our message #StopHeatSuffering and upload it under this hashtag on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. For example, hold our prepared photo on your mobile phone into the camera.
- Write an e-mail or letter to the ministry of agriculture in your country.
- Support our investigations with your donation.