Case of Overloaded Horse Transport From Spain to Italy Shows Indifference of Spanish Official Veterinarians

Animals' Angels inspects an animal transport with horses on the route from Spain via France to Italy. It is raining heavily. During a stop at a French toll station we look into tired children's faces: 31 foals are on the truck and two adult horses. The animals are standing densely packed, many with soaked, matted fur.

There are several violations of the regulation for animal transports: the vehicle is completely overloaded, the animals are not accommodated in individual stalls as prescribed and there is no automatic watering system. In Italy, we therefore inform the police. Unfortunately, neither the police officers nor the official veterinarian are trained in the assessment of animal transports, so that the control takes several hours.

Meanwhile the horses are completely exhausted. Despite noise, people, cars, flashlights and photo flashes, some are sleeping. Many seem apathetic with hanging heads, hardly reacting to what is happening around them. We hope that none of the animals will lie down, because it would be almost impossible for them to get up again in the narrowness.

The police finally impose a fine of 2,000 EUR on the carrier and the transport is allowed to continue to his destination near Venice. Esteban and the 32 other horses have about six hours to go before they can finally take a rest.

This case again shows the incompetence or indifference of many Spanish official veterinarians. In Spain, this transport should never have been dispatched like this. We are angry and disappointed. Together with the Spanish organisation Anda, we are continuing our efforts to ensure that the veterinary offices no longer dispatch illegal transports.