France - Spain | Highway | Animal transports
In the early morning, we are following the calf transporter on the highway A9 when the drivers stop near Nîmes. They say the inside temperature is 6°C. We check the animals with a flashlight and most of them are resting. The younger calves in the trailer look more crowded and some of them are stepping on each other. Some calves are coughing and others have liquid faeces splashed on their bodies. The older animals on the lorry look better and have more space to rest. At 05:50 the truck crosses the Spanish border and drives on the highway AP/7 in direction of Girona. Before arriving, the drivers make a short stop to check on the animals. They explain to us that the drinking devices which are inside of the truck are metal nipples that work by pressing them. We know that these drinkers are not adequate for unweaned calves, which should be fed manually with buckets and flexible rubber nipples. We arrive at the final destination, an assembly centre in Vic, Barcelona at 07:50. It takes one hour before the animals are finally unloaded, because there are two more trucks unloading unweaned calves there too. All calves from Lithuania walk off the trailer but look confused and tired. In the arrival stables we see calves licking an empty drinker. They all must be exhausted and thirsty after being transported for 22 hours. In the unloading area we see a dead calf with Romanian ear tag. We are going to send a complaint to the EU Commission with the aim of ending long-distance transport of unweaned calves.