The organizers promised on the website that the animals on sale here are of the highest quality, and that their welfare would be far higher than the laws require.
The reality however was to the contrary. Many of the horses, donkeys and ponies where in very poor condition; some where so exhausted they could barely move their heads. Many animals had no access to food or water and had little to no space to move around in. The ponies were treated the worst; many were subjected to hitting and kicking and where forcibly pushed forward by having their tails twisted and hoisted up. The equines were left for countless hours just standing and waiting; the first ones arrived at around 23:00 on the 7th and the market did not end until the afternoon of the 8th. Directly across from where the animals were kept, there was a funfair. It played loud pumping music all night long, hugely distressing and frightning the animals. Equine are particularly noise-sensitive animals that panic easily when loud sounds and bangs are made. Many tried to jump a fence and subsequently became wounded. There was also evidence of malnourished animals.
From 12 o’clock till 5 am there was no recognizable animal welfare controls in place. Following an urgent request from the EonA inspection team, a team from the AID (official government inspectors) arrived at 5 am bringing some order to the event. Such was the poor condition of 2 of the ponies that they were euthanized onsite. One of which had been laying in a cattle-truck for over 3 hours.
It was very clear that conditions such as these must not be allowed to happen again. A funfair is no place for live animals to be sold.
The event organizer has asked EonA for a full report so they can present it to the local community for future improvements.
Read an article about this inspection in the daily Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf.