TurkishBulgarian Border Inspection – Day 2
During the week from July 6th to 12th, Eyes on Animals, in conjuction with two other animal welfare partners (CIWF and AWF) carried out an intensive investigation of livestock trucks transporting cattle and sheep from all over Europe across the border into Turkey. This inspection and its´ findings received extensive media attention.
Day 2: we saw many sheep in trucks consisting of four levels. This means that, for the sheep, there was insufficient standing height. As a result, the temperature inside the trucks became extremely high, especially when these trucks are delayed and remain stationary from hours to days at the border. The ventilation systems, if switched on by the drivers, cannot withstand the heat which was, at this time, up to 48 degrees Celsius. There were also many unshorn sheep in the trucks.
With the lack of ventilation and long waiting times, the ammonia concentration also increases enormously, which cause distress and breathing difficulties for the sheep. We were busy making requests for turning on fans and opening up water systems. These requests relieved overall suffering very little, as the heat, stench and stacking together is a veritable hell for these animals.
A number of cattle trucks, which were also controlled by us, had, in general, too high temperatures, dirty bedding and too many animals. We likewise needed to request drivers to give food and drink to their cattle. In the afternoon, we were at a exchange point in Kapikule, where many livestock come to be unloaded. This unloading was not to relieve the animals, but to check for import regulation embreachments, such as female sheep being found among male sheep or when ” slaughter” bulls are found to be under the minimum weight of 400kg.
Here we saw sheep being unloaded, females being taken away and male sheep, generally around 350 sheep, being reloaded. During this brief stop, these animals were not offered water to drink nor a chance to rest. Within 15 minutes, livestock was herded back into their trucks to continue their journey. One lamb could no longer stand on her feet, but was due to be reloaded. We managed to prevent this. This lamb was set aside to die. No medical care was provided. All we could do is give it a few drops of water as it lay dying.
Here, likewise, many trucks filled with thirsty animals waited in the burning sun. Late in the evening at our final inspection round, we found, in the area between the two borders, young bulls for slaughter from Keus & Mollink transport company. As the cattle lay sleeping, we didn’t fully inspect their truck at this time.