This summer, (2019) has seen some of the worst live transport incidents of recent years. An investigation carried out by Animals International documented extreme cruelty and repeated flouting of the law.
66,000 sheep transported in illegal conditions
The Al Shuwaikh transported 66,000 sheep from Romania to a number of countries outside of the EU, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. Exported animals are meant to be protected by EU law until they reach their final destination in importing countries. This appears not to be the case for the sheep aboard the Al Shuwaikh. The temperatures alone made this journey illegal, not to mention traumatic for the animals on board.
Animals International documented the transport of Romanian sheep after their arrival in importing countries, when temperatures exceeded the legal limit for road transport, on trucks in breach with EU law. This is a clear violation of the EU law that states that animals should never be transported if the inside temperature exceeds 30°C.
Once in Qatar, some animals were forcefully dragged by their horns and legs, and transported in car boots with no air circulation, despite the soaring temperatures. Animals International also revealed that hundreds of sheep had died by the time they reached their destination.
It has been revealed that the ship will be out of commission by the end of the year (2019) due to substandard systems on board. More proof that the 66,000 animals that were transported, should never have been.
Following this, we are calling for infringement proceedings against Romania, alongside Animals International, Eurogroup and other animal protection organisations. We cannot allow this type of live transport illegality to continue without consequences.
A global problem
Ireland, Lithuania and the UK were also part of ‘the summer of horrors’. In July, although we managed to successfully postpone a shipment of animals due to the extreme weather conditions, the live export sailing did go ahead the following week. Three lorries of sheep and one lorry of Scottish calves left Ramsgate port. The calves will have been raised for veal, most likely in conditions that would be illegal in the UK.
In August, an investigation carried out by Israel Against Live Shipments and the Animal Welfare Foundation exposed horrendous suffering. Over a two-week investigation, evidence of calves in extremely overcrowded conditions, lying in thick layers of manure and suffering from high ammonia levels, heat and thirst were revealed. Some of the calves died in these conditions and others were so exhausted that they couldn’t walk out of the trucks.
Earlier this month (September,) a shipment of cattle was sent from the Port of Waterford, Ireland to Libya. During transport over such a long distance, the animals may face extreme dehydration, exhaustion and hunger. When they arrive in Libya the cattle are likely to face inhumane, unskilled handling and unimaginably horrific slaughter.
The EU prides itself on animal welfare
Despite Australia banning live transport to the Middle East during the hot summer months, the EU failed to do so – flouting basic animal right laws.
The extreme temperatures experienced by farm animals being transported during the summer is not only incredibly cruel but is illegal. The EU claims to have the highest standards of animal welfare in the world – and yet it is clear that it has fallen far behind Australia in regards to this.
Compassion takes action
We won’t stop in our campaign to Stop Live Transport. Recently, we have:
- written to the Commissioner, Andriukaitis, and he, in turn, wrote to the Romanian authorities, advising them not to go ahead with the Al Shuwaikh shipment
- written to Commission Officials and Member State Ministers outlining our case for a ban and the legal position
- been active on social media, urging the Commission for a suspension of live exports to third countries during the summer month.
The European Commission must end long-distance live transport.
This cruelty cannot be allowed to continue. Please speak out, and sign our petition calling for a ban on live exports from the EU to Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa.
Help Stop Live Transport and sign Animal International’s petition here.