Today teams from Eyes on Animals and TSB|AWF began inspecting EU livestock trucks passing the Bulgarian border and trying to enter Turkey. First we checked on Petline and Meat & Milk stables on the Turkish side, because we received information that 22 trucks with fattening cattle on board (in total approx 500 cattle) from the Czech Republic were not allowed further into Turkey. The animals had already been en route for over 10 days and were now waiting in quarantine in Kapikule. Indeed, the information was correct. Many of the cattle were above the maximum 300kg and thus not allowed entry. More than a dozen have already died.
The team checked on 7 cattle trucks at the border this afternoon. Six with young bulls from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia destined for slaughter in Turkey and one with pregnant heifers from Bulgaria destined for a dairy farm. Fortunately the team did not witness any major problem on these 7 trucks. However, they did hear of serious complaints regarding the situation in Bulgaria (insufficient number of control posts working, with inadequate amount of room to accomodate the cattle properly and a long waiting line on the Bulgarian border). On the Turkish side of the border things are also still not working well. All the trucks with bulls on board destined for slaughter were waiting for the necessary papers. The cattle had no choice but to wait on board the stationnary vehicles parked in the sun. The drivers were doing their best to keep the animals cool, but in 35 degree temperature outside it is very difficult. This is the on-going violation we continue to see each summer- the EU Member States continue to send animals to Turkey even on days when temperatures exceed the EU welfare-legislative limit of 30 degrees.