Today Eyes on Animals and the French NGO Welfarm gave a training course to the French gendarmerie brigade near Massy, south of Paris. The day started off with 4-hrs of theory and was followed by 4 hours at France’s largest highway toll, where we would stop any animal trucks that passed. Several small private horse trailers were inspected and conditions were good, but we also stopped a large commercial livestock truck that was bringing salers cattle from an assembly center in southern France to a livestock trader in the north of France, a journey of about 13 hours.
Sadly, there were many violations – cattle with very long horns were mixed with cattle without horns, adult bulls mixed with adult cows, and many mothers transported with their young all together. On top of this the maximum density was not respected (animals were too crowded) and the total load was over the maximum allowed weight (by 2 tons). There was no contingency plan, there were no water troughs, no feed or extra litter on board either and dividers were not sufficient. As a result the transport company was fined for just over 6000 euros in total. We hope more frequent and strict checks like this will result in transporters better respecting the rules set out to protect animals from unnecessary suffering and injury and in violators not having an economic advantage over transport companies that do try to do things legally.