More and more often we see Dutch-platted and Dutch-approved animal trucks on the road without any access doors on the sides. Access to the animals on these trucks is close to impossible- the only way in is via the back which in reality means no access. No truck driver is going to crawl on his knees through a floor of 80 pigs or suckling calves or sheep, or walk through a load of large adult cattle, in order to reach one in difficulty. Not only are access doors missing on the side of these trailers, but more and more of the new trailers are completely closed on the side with forced ventilation inside, without the possibility of even seeing the animals inside. Some do have peeking doors, but they are tiny and impossible to get through. Should an animal be giving birth inside, be dehydrated and need to be watered manually, be seriously injured and need treatment or be humanely put down right away, be trampled, be suffering from serious heat stress etc…the driver cannot take any immediate action to help the animal. He has to find a stable where he is allowed to unload the animals from his truck first and this can take hours and even longer.
Meanwhile in Germany, one Dutch livestock transport company was recently stopped and fined for not having access doors on his truck. Access to the animals is a legal requirement in the European animal transport legislation, and should actually be enforced by all Member States. We raised this issue over 10 years ago to the Dutch authorities, and are thus very disappointed that we continue to observe, but also to hear from livestock trailer manufacturers and livestock transport companies themselves, that the Dutch authorities tolerate animal trucks with completely inadequate access. We congratulate the German authorities for enforcing this and will again push the Dutch to do the same, finally. To read our report about the Importance of Access, which we presented to the Dutch authorities back in 2013 and even gave several presentations to them about, please see HERE.