Dear friends and supporters,

The animals badly need us. We are confronted with this during every painful inspection. Successes - big and small - are what keep us going. These successes have an impact on the welfare of thousands of animals every day. In this newsletter we would like to share with you the successes that we - thanks to your support - have achieved.

Our recent investigations in the international news

This summer our team was again at the Turkish-Bulgarian border. We saw a number of animals die in the trucks due to dehydration, heat stress and overcrowded conditions. We also saw several heifers give birth inside the trucks. In one case a cow needed a cesarean section. Not only did the calf die during this process, but the cow had to be killed after the cesarean section. Her organs were damaged by the excessive pulling on the calf.

The shocking footage from our investigation has gone all over the world. Television and newspapers in Sweden, Norway, France, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Turkey all broadcasted the horrors. In Sweden, the images were also seen on the national news together with commentary by the Swedish Minister of Agriculture. He expressed his utmost shock at the conditions for animals on this export route and will discuss the matter at the next Ministerial Meeting. Swedish veterinarians called it "a hell for the animals". In Germany – where thousands of these cattle came from, the media broadcasted a comprehensive documentary on television of our on-going efforts to help animals at this border and the on-going suffering being tolerated by the EU, Turkey and Member States.

Watch the Swedish show here
Watch the documentary on German TV (ARD) here 
Read the big article on the French news site "Paris Match" here
Read the big article on the Italian news site "Corriere" here
Listen to the Norwegian radio show NRK here
Read the article on the Turkish news site "Sözcü" here
Read the big article on the Irish news site "The Journal" here

Chicken transport crates with cruel flap-door now banned

For a long time crates with small flap doors were used to transport hens to slaughter. During our inspections of chickens being caught and loaded at the farm for transport to slaughter, we observed that these flap doors caused a lot of horrible injuries. Wings, heads and feet were often crushed. Recently the Dutch authorities made the decision to forbid these crates because of all the accidents we helped expose. A concrete result from our inspections and the consultations with industry and authorities! Millions of birds will at least be now spared from this horrific pain.

Inspection, official warning and welfare course for catching team

Last summer we inspected a chicken-catching team catch and load hens on a farm near Utrecht. The way the chickens were treated was deeply upsetting. A stack of crates - full of chickens - fell down and several chickens were seriously injured. The entire floor of one crate was full of blood. The employees nevertheless just put the crates with the injured birds back on the truck. We insisted that the injured chickens be removed from the crate and quickly humanely put down. After much resistance, the team leader removed one dead chicken from the crates. We sent our report and complaint about this incident to the Dutch authorities. They then performed an audit themselves of this company and gave an official warning. In the meantime, we had a meeting with the manager of the chicken-catching team. They have told us they are willing to improve: they have now signed up 20 of their employees for our Welfare-Workshop course which we will give on October 24th. They will also develop an animal-welfare protocol within their company.
We wrote a blog about the welfare-concerns we have with the commercial method of catching chickens and our suggestion for using a more humane option. It was published in the Dutch agricultural magazine "Boerderij". Read the blog here.

Rondeel company is going to test out our new method of catching chickens more humanely!

Eyes on Animals met with Rondeel and successfully convinced them to be the first to make the switch! Starting in 2017 Rondeel is going to try out the Swedish-method of catching and loading 36,000 of their birds at one of their farms in The Netherlands. In this method, chickens are picked up under the breast in pairs and kept upright while put in crates. Inspectors of Eyes on Animals will be present to give instructions and advice. Normally, chickens are grabbed by the legs, held upside down and stuffed in crates five at the same time. The Swedish method is much more humane and avoids that the chickens experience extreme fright  and injuries. Rondeel said that the Swedish method that we are stimulating fits their philosophy. This is an incredible first step! Read more.

And further...

- Hunland, one of Europe's largest livestock transport companies that we are in regular contact with, has improved the design of the truck’s automatic water systems for cattle. They are also developing a phone application for drivers to improve the welfare of animals during transport and to determine the acceptable loading density in different weather conditions. We remain impressed with Hunland and their enthusiasm to work on practical improvements with us.

- We have published the Eyes on Animals’s Annual Report for 2015. Please enjoy reading it!

- Together with AWF|TSB we published a film and started a campaign on the transport of unweaned calves and lambs. This has resulted in several countries considering banning the long-distance transport of very young animals still dependent on milk.

- We went to Bulgaria to meet with the Bulgarian animal-transport company Pimk and insist they start taking animal-welfare seriously. We produced two films about the awful  conditions in which they transported cattle to Turkey in 2015 and 2016 . Read more

- We were invited by Lely to give a presentation to 12 Turkish veterinarians about cattle exports to Turkey and how the welfare of animals on the farm and in slaughterhouse could be improved. Read more

- We went to Brussels to give input to the EU on guidelines that are being developed to improve compliance with transport regulations. Read more

Please support us so that we can continue to inspect and report on the way farm animals are handled and so that we can continue getting concrete improvements in place to reduce their suffering. Together we can make a serious difference!

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