We demand an end for cruel live transports by road and sea

Young Animals

Long-Distance transports of unweaned calves and lambs

In order to provide milk, a cow has to give birth to a calf every year. The same is true for goats and sheep. However, the problem is that male offspring, as well as many female animals, are merely considered a by-product of the dairy industry. There is a limited demand for calves in countries where they are fattened for veal or for export.

The calves are separated from their mothers directly after birth. Only a couple of days later they are being transported for the first time in their lives. Lambs are transported to collection points at the age of one week and calves when they are about ten days old. From the collection points the calves are then transported for fattening to the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy and Spain from the age of 14 days. The lambs are predominantly transported for slaughtering to Italy and Greece. When animals are this young, they are very prone to illnesses and transport can quickly become an endurance test.

Problems during transport of unweaned calves and lambs

According to the EU Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport, unweaned animals are allowed to be transported for 18 hours – provided they can be provided with food in the transport vehicle after nine hours.

This is not the case. There are no manual or electronic drinking devices that are suitable to provide unweaned calves or lambs with milk or milk substitutes on the transport vehicles. Consequently, the animals suffer from hunger and thirst and some even die during transport.    

What we are doing

Since 2014 our teams have been working for unweaned animals. Together with the police and veterinary authorities, we inspected countless calf- and lamb transports. Afterwards, we filed numerous complaints due to several violations. What they all have in common is the lack of supply of the animals during transport. We present the results of our investigation work to decision makers in ministries, European authorities and politics and ask them to act.

We reject long-distance transports (> 8 hours) of unweaned calves and lambs. Their execution is illegal, and they constitute an unacceptable burden to the young animals who are only a couple of weeks old.

This appeal is in compliance with the demands of the European Parliament in a resolution on the 14th of February 2019. However, the EU Commission has been blocking all attempts to reduce the transport times of unweaned animals.   

Together with our umbrella organisation, the Eurogroup for Animals, we will continue to pressure politicians in order to achieve improvements for the animals.