Croatia| Port of Raša | Sea transport from Croatia to Jordan, Egypt, and Israel
At the beginning of June, our team is travelling to Croatia. We spend more than a week close to the port of Raša. It one of the exit ports of live animals to non-European countries.
After sending several complaints to the authorities the EU-Commission carried out an audit of the port in 2018. Like our investigators in the years before, the EU auditors found various animal welfare violations during the loading of animals from trucks onto vessels. Our team wants to investigate whether the conditions in the port of Rasa have improved since the audit three years ago.
During the investigation, our team observes the arrival of three empty livestock vessels: ADEL I, TULIP, and ALONDRA. All three livestock carriers have been converted and are between 26 and 40 years old. Our team observes dozens of trucks that arrive in the port during our investigation. They are loaded with thousands of young calves, heifers, and bulls. The trucks mainly come from Hungary and Poland. We also observe some trucks from Germany. Most of the animals are loaded directly from the trucks onto the vessels. Some of the animals are being rested just for a couple of hours in the stables next to the Port facilities. We monitor the entire loading procedure during our investigation. We observe that the handling of the animals is very unprofessional, especially during the loading of calves. The port workers are beating the scared young animals persistently. Not even the official veterinarians present during the loading are intervening. Moreover, the workers repeatedly use electric prods to move cattle up the loading ramp to the entrance of the vessel. The animals are hit with electric shocks in body areas where it is illegal to apply them, such as the head and anus. We often see animals getting stuck at the final gangway. The animals are piling on top of each other. Some of them are trying to escape the loading pushing in different directions. The loading facilities are still poor and have not improved over the last years despite our complaints sent.
At the end of our ten-day investigation, we conclude that nothing has changed since our first investigation in Raša in 2014. Our findings demonstrate once again that the animals are exposed to suffering even before starting the journey by sea. The shortcomings identified by the EU-Commission in 2018 still prevail. We will send a complaint to the competent authorities and will inform the EU-Commission.