05.04.2016 | Inspection of Animal Transport, EU - Turkey

Langstrecken-Tiertransport mit Kälbern, EU - Türkei
Langstrecken-Tiertransport mit Kälbern, EU - Türkei
Langstrecken-Tiertransport mit Kälbern, EU - Türkei

Animals’ Angels monitors animal transports going from all over Europe to Turkey, crossing the Bulgarian-Turkish border.

After long waiting times at the Turkish border for the paper work to be done (and for other unclear reasons), the animals (mostly male calves and some heifers) are further transported to another customs point, depending on their final destination. After arriving there, again they have to wait, even for days, for the Turkish authorities’ approval to continue their journey. Lastly, after all that, they travel until destination where they will spend their last months before slaughter.

We observe trucks crossing the border with dirty, insufficient bedding and broken or insufficient water devices as too many animals are loaded and therefore cannot reach them. It is hardly surprising that after such a long journey, under these conditions, the animals we see are exhausted and visibly stressed. Some show nasal and ocular discharge, some eat straw dirty with excrements. Others bite the bars of the truck or roll their tongues in vain looking apathetic.

During the waiting periods at customs the calves suffer from heat stress due to the lack of shade inside their vehicles which are parked in the sun. They become thirsty as the truck’s water tanks have not been refilled. What makes us astonished is that most of the drivers or authorities do not worry about this issue.

At customs near Istanbul, we find five trucks which actually have been waiting there for three days. Inside are male calves showing signs of thirst. The trucks’ water tanks are empty. Because of the extreme suffering for the animals and the inactivity of the transporters who do not know when they will be allowed to leave customs, Animals’ Angels intervenes by organizing the refilling of the water tanks.

The conditions in which the young calves are transported cause immense suffering and are even fatal for the animals. Like in Pavel’s case – a Czech calf we find dead inside a Slovakian truck we have been trailing to Ankara’s Customs. We cannot imagine the pain Pavel suffered during his last hours inside the dirty truck surrounded by his friends who are not able to help him. They sniff at him during the long waiting time. Even more outrageous is the fact that Pavel is left inside the compartment with his companions despite Animals’ Angels informs the drivers and customs authorities. And if dying in a truck means to suffer, arriving alive does not mean the opposite.

Matej, a Slovakian calf we meet, has a swollen rear leg. When he tries to stand up to get some drops of water from the truck’s water nipples which are designed for pigs, he falls down. We inform the driver but all the animals have to remain on board waiting for customs procedures.

The inactivity and disinterest of the persons involved in these long distance transports, although frustrating, show us how important it is to continue inspecting and documenting animal transports, filing complaints to the authorities and advocating for this suffering to be stopped.