An AWF/EonA team drives to the Turkish-Bulgarian border at Kapikule to check on animal transports shipping bovines from EU member states to Turkey. Inside the border, our team finds two vehicles of the Polish transport company Amsyl, which has already attracted negative attention last August when two animals died during transport and one after unloading at a stable near the border.
Both Amsyl transporters have pregnant heifers from the Czech Rebulic on board. The trailer floors are very dirty and there is almost no bedding left. The stench of ammonia is very strong and irritates the mucous membranes of the animals. The dividers, which do not reach down to the floor and leave a gap open, pose a high risk of injury as the animals’ legs can get caught.
The two transporters are stuck inside the border for 12 hours because there is an error in the accompanying documents and the Turkish veterinarians have to wait for a fax. At 17:00 the transporters are finally allowed to pass the border and drive to a nearby feeding station. However, the exhausted animals are not unloaded, but at least get some water and food. The vehicles do not carry along hay, although this is mandatory in the EU, and the drivers buy some straw to feed the cows. When the drivers have refilled the water tank and switch on the water system, the thirsty cows immediately start fighting for water. There are only two cattle troughs per compartment and it seems to us that only the strongest animals can drink. Some cows try to drink at the drinking nipples for pigs, which are unsuitable for them, and most of the water splashes away.
Only late in the evening the Amsyl transporters drive on. However, the journey is far from over – the pregnant heifers still have to travel another 1’400 km to get to their destination.
We are going to send a complaint to the competent authorities.