Eyes on Animals, Ethical Farming Ireland and MEP Anja Hazekamp recently undertook an investigation into unweaned calf export from Ireland to the mainland (the Netherlands followed by Spain being the biggest importers of unweaned calves from Ireland). We focused on the first stage of the journey for the calves when they leave the farm in Ireland and head to control posts in France. We clocked the time unweaned Irish calves spend during this leg of the journey. Sadly, as shown repeatedly on this route over the past 15 years, feeding times continue to be seriously violated on this export route.
According to EU legislation, unweaned calves are to be watered and fed if necessary after 9 hrs in transit, and after the second phase of 9hrs in transit, be unloaded and fed. However, on just this leg of the journey, calves spent 50 hours in transit (from farm via small truck to market to larger truck to port, via Stena Line ferry to Cherbourg and on to French control posts) and were just fed milk one time quickly, at Cork Co-op market in Bandon, Ireland. For such a young animal with an immune system that is not yet developed, and that is totally dependent on warmed-up milk or milk replacer in sufficient quality and quantity, this not only illegal but we find it illustrates a complete lack of respect towards these fragile animals. We have sent our report and are demanding remedial action from the big actors profiting from and facilitating this trade (such as Stena Line ferry and Van Drie Dutch veal company, among several others).
To read the full report, click HERE.