As long as the long-distance transport of animals is legal and taking place, Eyes on Animals sees it as their duty to take steps to at least ensure that the welfare of animals in transit be protected. We therefore, aside from training highway police officers, also offer “Welfare Workshops” to livestock truck drivers. At least this way, animals in transit will be handled by educated professionals who have been trained to care. Today a team from Eyes on Animals gave a welfare workshop to 30 livestock drivers from the Hungarian transport company “Hunland”, which often transports cattle and sheep to Turkey and other far-away countries.
In the morning we went over all the EU legislative requirements regarding the protection of animals during transport, and in the afternoon the practical part of the training took place, when two trucks were loaded under the guidance of a specialist with 33 years experience in humane-handling during transport that we hired in. We went over the importance of giving the animals plenty of straw bedding, checking that headspace is adequate, covering the ramp in bedding to make the animals walk up more easily, checking both sides of the vehicle when moving the hydraulic floors up and down to avoid any risk of injury, cleaning out the water troughs and testing that all ventilators work before leaving, giving the animals adequate space so that they can each access the waterers etc...
We were impressed with the level of basic knowledge and interest from the truck drivers. The company has in total 90 drivers, and these 30 were the most experienced ones. They were specially selected out by the company to attend this training so that they can pass on what they learn to the newer drivers when they ride together. The company agreed to make several improvements immediately- namely that extra metal will be welded onto some of the dividers of the trucks so that there is no risk of animals becoming injured from open gaps and special nipples for calves will be ordered so that these young animals can drink properly during transport. The transport company has shown a serious attitude in striving to do better and better in regards to animal welfare. Some of the drivers themselves were shocked by the photos we showed them. We will stay in contact and continue providing tips to transport companies like Hunland so that, as long as animals are still being transported over long distances, we can avoid as much serious suffering as possible from occuring. We would like to commend the organizers from Hunland that made this training possible and for setting an example for their drivers, and other transport companies, that animal welfare is a serious and professional issue.