The Irish Minister of Agriculture has announced that the export of calves to, among others, the Netherlands will be subject to stricter supervision this spring. More unannounced checks will be carried out, transport by sea will sometimes be accompanied by veterinarians and measures will be taken to prevent overloading, inadequate resting time and rough treatment at the control posts. This is partly the outcome of inspections by Eyes on Animals and L214 where various violations were recorded, such as the mistreatment of calves at the control post in Cherbourg.
Practice will have to show whether these measures are successful. Therefore, we will continue our inspections. But Eyes on Animals is pleased that the serious welfare issues associated with the transport of Irish calves to countries such as the Netherlands are finally receiving genuine attention.
We stand firm in our opinion that long-distance transport of unweaned calves is ethically unacceptable. It is not possible to feed calves according to their needs during transport while they still dependent on milk. Also, during transport from the Irish calf assembly centers to the French control posts, the maximum transport time for unweaned animals (19 hours) is frequently exceeded because the boat journey alone often takes 17-19 hours.