25.06.2012 Day 4 Inspections of EU livestock trucks at Turkish border
This morning, before driving to Ankara for our meeting with the Ministry, we checked on the cattle from last night. Those that had been unloaded (from Greek company Tragokis) into the stable and outdoor paddocks, given plenty of fresh and clean water in large troughs, new bedding, and feed and space were in good shape. Most were lying down and ruminating, showing that they were comfortable and doing alright.
The cattle left on board trucks all night however (from the company Slovakian company Bovinex), were very dirty and many were not even able to lie down because there was not enough space. There were many flies and mosquitos inside the trucks, which smelled strongly of ammonia. The bedding was filthy and urine was dripping outside of the truck. The animals appeared exhausted and stressed. Understandably as they had already made a long journey from Slovakia, had a long wait all day at the border and now spent another night inside the truck on the Turkish side of the border. This all because the importer could only come on Monday to receive his animals and finalize his payment and papers.
All farmed animals are transported at least once in their lifetime. Journeys can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks. Transport is known to be one of the most stressful experiences for animals. They are moved from a familiar territory to a new one and are held often under very crowded conditions. They get separated from each other and mixed with unfamiliar animals, which can lead to stress and fighting. Sometimes there is no water and feed available or the animals cannot reach it. Animals that wish to lie down during the journey are at risk of being trampled by the others. Sometimes conditions on board are very cold or very hot, leading to animals dying from hypothermia and suffocation. There are laws in place to prevent these types of problems, but there is very little official inspection during the journey to check if these laws are respected. Eyes on Animals regularly trails and checks livestock transport consignments to see if the welfare of the animals is respected during transit.