03/02/17 Shocking: brutal treatment of exported livestock

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Brussels, March 2 2017
International Press Release

Live animal transport – investigation and footage of cruelty towards animals in transport

Animals International (AI), Tierschutzbund Zurich/Animal Welfare Foundation (TSB|AWF) and Eurogroup for Animals released shocking footage showing breaches of European animal welfare legislation and international agreements concerning live animal transport from Europe to Turkey, the Middle East and northern Africa, as well as their slaughter.

In a landmark eight-month investigation conducted from June 2016 to February 2017, AI and TSB|AWF have documented the horrific mishandling and slaughter of European livestock across their European journey from EU to their final destination in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Egypt. Their footage shows that transport and slaughter methods that are routine in such importing countries are breaching European regulations and international standards.

Alarming discoveries of the investigation prompted AI and TSB|AWF organizations to join forces with Eurogroup for Animals and its members from all over Europe, including Animal Friends Croatia association. They will send a request to the European Commission to phase out live animal transport.

Every year, well over 2 million European cattle and sheep are exported by sea and road to Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa, despite these destination countries having no laws to protect animals from brutal treatment.

Footage documented by Animals International in importing countries reveals:

• Turkey: terrified, fully conscious bulls being hoisted to the ceiling by one rear leg before having their throats cut in slaughterhouses;
• Lebanon: cattle being tortured with electric prods before being slaughtered;
• Palestine: petrified and fully conscious bulls being brutally restrained with ropes before having their throats hacked with blunt knives;
• Turkey, Palestine, Egypt: the extended suffering of animals in full inversion slaughter boxes (which are turning live animals upside down) for ritual slaughtering;
• Palestine and Jordan: the brutal handling and slaughter of sheep.

Investigation of animal transport by TSB|AWF and AI showed:

• Animals arriving at EU harbors completely exhausted, with workers routinely and hastily forcing animals to move up ramps using electric prods;
• Hungry young calves calling for their mothers as they are prevented from being weaned;
• Exhausted and almost unrecognizable cattle being unloaded in Turkey, completely covered with excrement.

Antonija Magas from Animal Friends Croatia association states, “Live animal transport entails unimaginable cruelty and horrible suffering for the animals. Each one of us can help end their suffering in trucks and ships by changing our dietary habits and switching to a plant-based diet.”

“This investigation reveals an abject failure by EU officials to monitor live animal export. Animals raised in Europe are being transported in manners that are in breach of EU regulations and they are enduring horrific slaughter practices in breach of international agreements,” said Animals International EU Director, Gabriel Paun.

Eurogroup for Animals Director, Reineke Hameleers, stated, “The European Court of Justice has ruled that the EU’s Transport Regulation also applies outside EU borders, until animals reach their final destinations. Yet this ruling is not being abided to and animals continue to be exported in horrible conditions.” In addition she said, “Not only is this illegal, it is also immoral and unnecessary as all of the cited destination countries also import lots of chilled and frozen meat. There is absolutely no excuse for putting animals through unnecessary suffering by exporting them alive.”

“Ethical and regulatory failures in animal transport start well before animals even arrive in the importing countries. Currently there is no requirement to have a vet onboard livestock vessels leaving the EU, thus thousands of animals are without access to veterinary care for up to 10 days in a high risk environment,” said TSB|AWF Director, Iris Baumgärtner. She added, “All you need to think about is thousands of animals imprisoned on a ship - not conceived for animal transport - tossed around in wild seas, to understand just how wrong this trade is.”

Collected evidences will be provided to the European Commission and to EU Ministers as a proof of the abuse and slaughter without respecting proper procedures of European animals which are exported from Ireland, France, Romania, Lithuania, Hungary, Belgium, Czech Republic, Portugal and Spain to non-EU countries.

The investigation storyline is available here.

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