Animal rights NGOs condemn the conditions for transporting calves in Europe

Three European NGOs, including the French organization L214, will file a complaint with the European Commission. They believe that the way thousands of calves are transported from markets in Ireland to fattening farms in the Netherlands via France is in breach of the rules.

Three animal protection NGOs are condemning on Tuesday 11 July the conditions in which very young calves are transported from Ireland to the Netherlands via France without food for long hours, and announce a complaint to the European Commission against these countries.

The French association L214, Irish Ethical Farming Ireland and Dutch Eyes on animals intend to sue them for violating a European regulation regarding the protection of animals during transport, L214 reported in a press release.

In the case of suspected violations of European rules, the Commission can request the countries concerned to take corrective measures and bring proceedings before the European courts if the violation continues.

L214 also indicated that it filed a parallel complaint for “serious ill-treatment” and “ill-treatment” against an animal transit center based in the Manche department near Cherbourg. The association, which campaigns to stop the exploitation of animals, is also filing “a compensation claim against the French state for the lack of its veterinary services”.

The organizations have filmed the various stages of the transport of the animals, which are not yet weaned and are being fed milk replacer, and their mothers continue to produce milk in Ireland.

They are loaded into cattle cars, which themselves board ferries to France. They then hit the road again to join Dutch farms where they will be fattened.

Up to 150,000 calves per year

The study “shows that the calves remained in the trucks without being fed for a period of between 27 and 40 hours”, says L214, after which the observed transport times systematically exceed the maximum limit of 19 hours set by European regulations. .

The images of the transport “show the handling and violent beatings inflicted on the calves as they are fed and reloaded into the trucks”, adds L214. The association plans to go to the French Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday morning to submit a detailed report on its investigation.

From Ireland, “live exports of young calves represent up to 150,000 animals per year, mainly in the spring during the peak of milk births”, according to a 2021 report by the French Livestock Institute (Idele).

This same report emphasized that the export of these calves, which account for less than 20% of the calves of the Irish dairy herd, had been “recently called into question due to the long transport time to continental Europe”, mainly to Spain and the Netherlands.


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