Today Eyes on Animals and the Swedish Association for the Protection of Animals met virtually with representatives from Stena Line in Sweden and the UK. At the meeting we handed over a petition with 22,882 signatures to Stena Line, that appeals to the ferry company to stop transporting livestock/young calves onboard their ferries from Ireland to France.
Eyes on Animals and the Swedish Associaition for the Protection of Animals made it clear again to Stena that the EU law regarding feeding intervals for unweaned calves cannot be respected during these long ferry journeys from Ireland to continental Europe. All of these animals, dependent solely on milk for their nutritional needs, go for well over the maximum 18 hours without any feed. At just a few weeks of age, they are loaded onto livestock trucks throughout Ireland, driven to Rosslare port, loaded on to a Stena ferry and then face a 17 -19 hours crossing of the sea to Cherbourg in France.
In order to properly feed an unweaned calf, a person must manually feed each one to be sure s/he gets enough, and the milk must be heated first in order to avoid them developing diarrhea. With several hundred calves on board a truck, it is impossible to provide this individual feeding without unloading them. We would like to see the EU legal requirements enforced, with young calves remaining in Ireland until they are at least 2 months of ag which is when they can ruminate and eat forage during transport.
Stena Line representatives informed us that they will hand over the petition to the Irish Government, as well as discuss age requirements from which the animals can be transported with them.