It's our last night on the road, waiting for the lamb trucks.
The first one comes from Hungary. At first glance the lambs are quiet, they all have space and straw and are sleeping, in the first floor. The drivers don't want us to climb up to see the other floors. We can steal some photos and see that on the second and third floors the lambs stand up and touch the ceiling with their heads.
We trail a second truck. We see that the lambs are bigger and they appear to be more crammed. We call the police. Two patrols arrive and agree that this is a serious violation. They have to call the vet on duty for a welfare assessment. The vet also denies what we see: we film the lambs with their backs to the ceiling and the lambs being forced to keep their heads down, and the vet says this is not true and that they are being transported in good condition. The driver is told that his transport is fine. We argue, but our opinions differ.
This problem of different interpretations of the law and reality has been going on for many years. The space above the animals is a basic aspect of animal welfare during transport. This requirement has been clarified during many official trainings organised by the European Commission. Hundred thousand euro were spent for these courses, for the official veterinary inspectors. We are tired and frustrated to invest our energies still discussing of such basic aspects.
We will report this latest unpleasant confrontation we have had with Italian veterinarians to the Italian Ministry of Health, asking once for all for an official note to be issued to all Italian veterinary offices for a uniform interpretation of the law.