On the 14-16th March 2019, four teams from EonA and L214 investigated the well-being of young Irish calves being transported over sea from Rosslare (IE) to Cherbourg (FR) on to their final destinations by road. We checked the welfare conditions at the control posts, during transport and upon arrival at the farm. Two trucks (Shortall and McCreery) were trailed to their final destination, a veal factory-farm in Holland. Another truck (Martin O’Neill) was trailed to a control post in Abbeville (FR) where it continued to Spain, unattended by an NGO team. The teams documented numerous serious violations:
- Cruelty to animals (kicking the calves, hitting the calves, dragging them by the ears, throwing them down onto the floor and jumping on them) at control post Qualivia in Tollevast.
- Again some transporters did not rest and feed calves in the immediate vicinity of Cherbourg. Maximum journey times (19 hours), as well as rest- and feeding times were violated.
- Inadequate on-board drinking systems.
- Drivers going over the maximum allowed driving hours, risking the welfare of the animals, himself and other users of the road.
Despite us not observing any legal violations at the Dutch veal factory-farms, EonA and L214 are of the opinion that the living conditions inside these farms are completely unacceptable and outdated. After a long and exhausting journey, calves are pushed into tiny single pens, without any space to walk, run or play. The floor of the pens do not have any soft bedding (they are forced to lie on hard and barren slatted floors). The calves kept their whole life indoors with nothing to do. Seeing these young animals forced into these tiny, barren dark pens is a disgrace to the inherent value and behavioural needs of such animals.
L214 en Eyes on Animals will press charges against the control post Qualivia in Tollevast and one of its employees for the brutal treatment of calves. Official authorities will be informed about the documented violations and requested to take immediate action. We will also start a campaign and petition to stop the transport of unweaned animals, as animals still dependent on milk and wobbly on their legs, can never be properly cared for during long journeys on board trucks.