Separated from their mother at birth, exhausted, scared, hungry and treated with brutality, unweaned calves undergo journeys of hell in Europe. The animal welfare organizations Eyes on Animals and L214 inspected dozens of trucks that go from Ireland to Holland and recorded calves that are beaten, kicked and pulled.
The calves are transported at only a few weeks old to be killed in the Netherlands for their meat, veal. The Netherlands is the largest veal producer in Europe and imports around 750,000 young calves each year.
Eyes on Animals and L214 inspected the trucks from Ireland last March. The trucks go via the French port city Cherbourg to the Netherlands. The calves are then only
2-4 weeks old. In total, the journey takes more than 50 hours. These babies are stuck in trucks for at least two days. And if they have to go to other veal producing countries like Spain or Italy, the journey can take up to 4 days.
Collapsed in pain
The research shows that the calves were beaten and kicked hard at the resting place in France. Sometimes it went so fast that calves collapsed in pain. Calves were also pulled on the ears. One employee threw some calves on the floor and jumped repeatedly on one of them using his full body weight.
No fluid for days
Unweaned calves need their mother’s milk. Since the milk of their mothers is stolen for human consumption, these babies get a milk replacer. When they are on these trucks though, it’s difficult to feed them the milk so sometimes they are deprived of any fluid.
In the trucks from Ireland, the welfare organizations researched the drinking facilities and they were not in order. Teats were missing or were not useful for the calves. As a result, these babies were unable to drink during the transport of more than two days.
After the long, exhausting journey, the calves arrived in Dutch fattening farms where they’ll live in small and dark boxes for a while and are then killed for their meat. They won’t grow older than a year.
Holland should take responsibility
Lesley Moffat, director Eyes on Animals: “It is heartbreaking to see how these vulnerable animals, which are still shaky on their legs, are being hurt so much during transport to the Netherlands and then finally end up in a box where they can hardly turn around. The Netherlands is the driving force behind these transports and should take more responsibility for the welfare of these calves. “
A million calves tortured in Europe
Ireland is not the only European Union Member State to be facilitating this kind of transport, by road, plane and boat. In total, there are more than one million young calves transported across Europe each year. This transportation is a living hell for animals that are just born and only seek comfort of their mom, whom they’ll never get to be with within their lifetime.
Ban the transport of calves
L214 and Eyes on Animals have filed a complaint against the resting place Qualivia in Tollevast and against one of the employees for mistreatment of the calves. The authorities in the Netherlands, France and Ireland were informed of the documented violations and requested immediate action.
Eyes on Animals and L214 have launched a petition to ban the transport of calves that are still dependent on milk.
All pictures are from the transport from Ireland to the Netherlands, made by Eyes on Animals and L214.