Gran Canaria, Spain: Long-distance transport of calves and a filthy fattening facility

Calf, probably blind in one eye, stands in the filthy pen of a fattening farm in Gran Canaria

Animals' Angels is in the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. We are waiting for two transports of French calves to arrive by ferry from Cádiz in southern Spain. When they arrive, the animals will have been on the truck for over 50 hours at a stretch.

The transport conditions are not good, as our team in Cádiz already had to discover. The loading density is too high, the bedding was already wet and dirty before the crossing. In addition, there was the unbelievable heat and a high swell on the Atlantic. We are happy when the drivers tell us on arrival that all the animals have survived the transport. They too seemed to have feared the worst.

We accompany one of the transports to its destination. It is a well-screened fattening facility in the middle of banana plantations. There is not a breath of air. It is stuffy and hot. Nevertheless, the calves jump around. They are obviously happy to finally have some space after the long transport and jump at the offered food and water.

Meanwhile, we take a look at the stables and are horrified. The pens are completely filthy, everything makes a run-down impression. Some of the animals are standing ankle-deep in dung. Some are crammed together under a corrugated iron roof, others have no shade at all. Among them are Marie and Melanie. Both came to Gran Canaria before 'our' calves. Marie comes from France and seems to be blind in one eye. The eye is also inflamed. Her legs are thickly encrusted with dung up to her knees. Melanie comes from Germany, from Bavaria. She is a beautiful animal. Melanie is curious and seems playful.

Like most other calves shipped to the Canaries from various EU countries, Marie and Melanie will be slaughtered no later than 90 days after their arrival on the island. They will have gone through an ordeal only to end up on a plate in a tourist resort. This must not be allowed to happen. It is high time to put an end to the completely unnecessary long-distance transport of 'slaughter' animals!