06August2019

Germany | Federal Minister Julia Klöckner stops long-distant transports of unweaned calves to Spain

Thirsty calves desperately trying to drink water from pig drinkers that are not appropriate for them.

The German Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Julia Klöckner, asked the Bavarian State Minister for Enviromental and Consumer Protection Affairs, Thorsten Glauber, in a letter to stop long-distance transports of unweaned calves from Bavaria to Spain. 

Julia Klöckner strongly emphasises in her letter that there are no special-purpose vehicles yet which comply with the EU regulation on the transport of unweaned animals. The current vehicles are not equipped with suitable watering systems that allow the calves to drink milk, or appropriate milk substitutes, after nine hours of transport. This has been recognised by veterinary officials in Bavaria a long time ago. Therefore, they have requested that calves are unloaded and supplied with milk (substitutes) in an EU-resting stable. 

This mandatory supply-stop, however, causes delays and the transports cannot reach the destination of the calves, a collection centre in Catalonia, within the allowed 19 hours of journey time. For this reason, Federal Minister Klöckner demanded a stop for long-distant transports of unweaned animals. She refers to a decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and a meeting of the EU-Agricultural ministers (AGRIFISH, 15 June 2019) where the EU-Commission called on the member states to strictly enforce the EU regulation regarding the transport of animals.   

We have been documenting long-distance  transports of unweaned calves and lambs for more than five years: 

See dossiers:

We have been documenting the transports of German calves to Spain, alone from 2016 until 2018 several times and forwarded our complaints to the competent authorities. This, for example, lead to a verdict against a transport company that disregarded the allowed transport times for calves several times.   

We have to increase the pressure on other member states now that still allow the export of calves over long distances without ever assessing or re-inforcing care for unweaned animals during transport.