Bulgaria | Kapitan Andreevo | Live transports by road to Turkey
Our team is in Bulgaria in the village of Kapitan Andreevo which marks the external border of the EU with Turkey. This is the tenth year in a row that our teams have been on the lookout for animal transports in extreme temperatures. During this investigation we inspect 28 animal transporters in total. The vehicles that leave the exit point of Kapitan Andreevo to Turkey are loaded with animals from Germany, the Czech Republic and Hungary. However, the animals from Germany were loaded in Hungary.
The drivers tell us that they have unloaded the animals, to be fed watered and rested, at the stables in the vicinity of the border. Most of the animal transports leave the EU exit point in the evening hours when the temperature drops below 25°C. Nevertheless, the drivers will have to wait until 9 a.m. in the morning when the Turkish veterinarians start their work. Some drivers inform us that they must wait between six to 18 hours to complete the Turkish veterinary inspection. During this time, the animals have to remain on the truck, parked in the so called “No Mans Land” – the area between the Bulgarian and the Turkish border. In this area there is no shade and the temperatures reach at least up to 33°C during the days. On the hottest day, our team measures 37°C. Even though the drivers are supplying the animals with water, transports during extreme heat are causing unnecessary suffering to the animals.
According to the EU transport regulation, animals are not allowed to be transported over long distances if the temperatures reach more than 30°C. A couple of months ago, the EU-Commission stated in a letter that the competent authorities (official veterinarians) are primarily responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the EU legislation on animal transport. Therefore, they are also responsible for the risk of exposing animals to extreme temperatures on long distance transports. The letter also stated that competent authorities should evaluate the weather forecast to ensure that the weather conditions will not cause unnecessary suffering to the transported animals. Therefore, the working hours of the Turkish veterinarians should also be considered when approving the transport of animals.
The results of our long-term research have also shown this year that it is not possible to transport animals over long distances to Turkey without exposing the animals to extreme temperatures or unreasonable waiting times at the border.