At the beginning of July, Eyes on Animals received a disturbing notification from our colleagues at Animal Welfare Foundation in Germany about a Bulgarian mink transporter heading to Putten (NL) to load mink there for Greece. Due to the miserable conditions under which the animals would be transported and the lack of papers, Eyes on Animals asked the NVWA to check on the truck and the animals before departure from the Netherlands. A team from Eyes on Animals also drove to Putten.
Because the farmer could not/did not want to say at what time the mink would be loaded, the NVWA “approved” the truck on the basis of a test set-up. This test set-up consisted of a number of stacks of empty cages in the truck – secured together with a wooden beam and tie-rips. The NVWA therefore approved the transport without waiting to see the live mink on board. We find this unacceptable, all the more because the conditions under which the animals would be transported were very extreme. The cages were very small, the transport time extremely long (> 32 hours), the ventilation limited and a considerable part of the transport took place at temperatures above 30 degrees, while it is known that mink suffer easily from heat stress.
We also find it disappointing that the farmer and NVWA decided to hold the test set-up inspection at another location unknown to us, to avoid us being present. The Dutch Federation of Noble Fur Farmers (NFE) advised the mink farmer not to let Eyes on Animals be present.
We filed a complaint with the NVWA on July 9th 2018. On August 27th we received the following disappointing and pathetic response:
“Two inspectors from the NVWA conducted an inspection at this mink company in Putten. The (empty) vehicle used to transport the mink was checked and approved by us. At the time, the animals were not on board, but as the vehicle itself met the legal requirements, the inspectors did not see any reason to further investigate.”