The suffering of the 'Christmas Lambs’: Joints Inspections of Lamb Transports in Italy

Together with the Animal Welfare Foundation, ENPA and Essere Animali, Animals' Angels monitors lamb transports on the highway in Italy before Christmas. Over 550,000 lambs are slaughtered in Italy in the pre-Christmas period. Around 90,000 of them are transported over long distances to Italy and spend more than 24 hours in the cramped conditions of the vehicles.

We inspect a total of twelve animal transports. The alerted authorities stopped and inspected eight of them. Despite dead lambs and numerous violations of the EU Animal Welfare Transport Regulation (unsuitable drinking troughs, low ceiling height, overloading), the authorities only imposed a few fines - but one amounting to 10,000 euros.

The worst fate was suffered by the animals in a transporter near Verona. The police informed a vet, who examined the transport and the animals as far as was possible in the overcrowded truck: at least one lamb was already dead, another was dying. In another truck, 169 more lambs than permitted were loaded. Five animals had already been trampled in the cramped conditions and were dying. Sanctions had already been imposed on the transporter in the past, but none were imposed in this case.

A few days earlier, the Ministry of Health had issued a decree: To increase controls and highlight control priorities. Obviously without much success! This is mainly due to the EU regulation, which does not adequately protect lambs in particular and whose requirements are regularly disregarded by transporters, usually without consequences. Unfortunately, the new draft law does not promise any improvements for lambs either. We must now continue to exert pressure so that lambs are better protected by the new regulation - and ensure that the positive innovations proposed by the Commission are not watered down.