27. November 2020

Poland | Lomza | Verdict: Transport of unweaned calves

The transport exceeded 22 hours without stopping for a feeding break. A hungry calf is biting on the bars of the transporter.

Calves of different ages mixed togehter in one compartment of the vehicle. The youngest animal was only 15 days old.

Today, a court case regarding a transport of unweaned calves from Poland to Spain that was carried out back in 2018 has been resolved.

Our team stopped a transport of calves in Germany together with the help of the German police. The transport was just on its way from Poland to a control post in France. Back in 2018, the German authorities punished the transport company with a fine because the vehicle was not equipped with an appropriate drinking system for unweaned calves. However, our team revealed more serious infringements, such as the exceeding of the maximum transport time, as well as leaving the calves to starve because the compulsory break during which the animals should have been fed did not take place after nine hours.

We informed the competent authorities of the place of destination, as well as the place that authorised the vehicle in Poland. The district veterinary officer replied to our complaint and decided to notify a prosecutor. Unfortunately, only the violation exceeding the maximum transport time was noticed in the end. Eventually, it was only the driver who was fined by the court and had to pay a small amount of money.

We were disappointed about this mild verdict and decided to notify the court directly about further infringements. We spent hundreds of hours on analysing the case, providing strong evidence, organising documents provided by the Polish and German competent authorities. We attended the court sessions and were hopeful that we could win the case. Especially, after we received proof that the truck did not stop after nine hours to feed the animals.Despite all the proof that we delivered, both the driver and the company were not found guilty in the end.

Next, we submitted an appeal to a higher court. Unfortunately, our request was denied. The higher Polish court deemed NGOs as not being able to act as a public prosecutor. However, the court annulled the court ruling of the lower court. Therefore, the driver and the transport company have not been aquitted in the end.