We are already on the way to the airport when we decide to stop briefly at the harbour. Only briefly, we think, because there is certainly no animal transport here with over 33 °C temperatures.
But: hardly arrived, we find a transport with young cattle. The tired eyes of Adonis, Charon and the others, tell their own story. How long have the animals been on board? When did they last get something to drink? We do not know. The driver informs us only about the destination - the island of Crete.
We can hardly believe it. The ferry crossing alone takes 12 hours, but the vehicle is not equipped for long distance transport. We cannot find an automatic water system inside the animal compartments.
Of course, we follow the transport as it drives to the deck. And again, we can hardly believe what we see: the driver parks the truck on a cargo parking lot and drives away on a motorcycle. It is shortly after noon and 33 °C, the sun burns on the vehicle. The temperatures continue to rise, and the ferry does not leave until 8 o'clock in the evening.
We act immediately and call all the relevant authorities - with success. The responsible veterinarians are on site shortly afterwards, together with the coast guard. They locate the driver and discuss the measures to be taken.
Unfortunately, we cannot wait for further developments, as we must catch our flight. Later we learn that the further transport was refused that day. The animals were taken to the nearest stable, unloaded and provided with water and feed. Of course, they will still be transported to Crete later on: but then hopefully without waiting for hours in the sun.
We very much welcome the intervention of the Greek authorities in this case. At the same time, a system must be put in place to ensure that such incompliant transports cannot pass unseen.