Recently a critical article / literature study was published in the leading German Magazine “Amtstierärtztlicher Dienst und Lebensmittelcontrolle” about the long-distance transport of unweaned calves. The conclusion was that the long-distance transport, along with starvation (caused by insufficient drinking- and food facilities inside the trucks) are a serious stressor negatively affecting the immune system and health of the calves. The authors therefore opt to limit transport time of calves to a maximum of 8 hours.
Eyes on Animals regularly conducts inspections of long-distance transports and recognizes many findings in the German study and agrees that transport time of calves should be limited to 8 hours. Please see some videos of our inspections of trucks carrying unweaned calves below:
In the Netherlands EonA’s inspections resulted in stricter requirements for drinking facilities in the trucks. Dutch trucks that transport unweaned calves over long-distances must now be equipped with rubber teats instead of just metal nipples so calves can drink more easily. Nevertheless also with rubber teats it is not possible to give calves preheated milk which is what animals at this age really do need. The fact that the unweaned calves can only receive water or electrolytes via the truck drinking facility, results in young calves becoming dehydrated and weak and lethargic at the end of long-distance journeys. Further, calves at this age should be given liquid feed manually and on an individual basis to be sure that they consume enough nutrients. Within a truck this isn’t possible. Some calves will drink too much, while others will drink nothing. We are happy that the leading magazine for veterinarians in Germany pays attention to this subject and the authors of the article, like Eyes on Animals, conclude that transport time for calves should be limited.
The full article can be read HERE.