A common problem with the crates and containers used in the transport of poultry throughout Europe and abroad, is that there is no access to the birds once loaded (despite being an EU requirement) meaning any bird that is sick or injured is left for hours to suffer an cannot be given first-aid or humanely killed. Ventilation is also seriously impeded as headspace is limited and no space is left empty to compensate for that. Especially birds loaded in the middle rows are prone to becoming overheated and suffocate.
Today the EonA/AWF team saw a commercial Turkish poultry truck heading to a slaughterhouse that had access doors built into every container and an empty corridor in between the only 2 rows, allowing for ventilation to reach birds on both sides. The truck driver and the farmer welcomed us to watch everything. The loading of the birds happened via the side-access doors, avoiding that the birds have their wings and feet stuck or crushed as sometimes seen when the birds are loaded head first via small top-openings of the standard crates. The truck loaded 4000 “spent” breeding hens and roosters.
We have been campaigning for improvements to the design of the containers used to transport broilers and hens in Europe and will use these photos to stimulate EU poultry industry members to improve. They will have to modify this system seen on the Turkish truck slightly to suit EU norms and slaughterhouse installations, but this system definitely has much more potential to protect the birds’ welfare during transport and its advantages should be copied here! The photos below show the standard types of transport crates and containers used in the EU for hens.