German documentary exposes illegal transport of calves

Photo: Eyes on Animals
Photo: Eyes on Animals

Calves are being transported illegally from Germany to Turkey and other countries to be killed, the German documentary program 37Grad showed on Tuesday.

Exports of cows and calves to Turkey and elsewhere have been severely restricted or banned. The reason is that the transportation and slaughter conditions are horrible and not acceptable.

But according to 37Grad, animals that originally come from Germany can be found not only in slaughterhouses in Turkey but also in countries such as Lebanon and Libya.

Unsuspecting farmers sell calves to a trader. He sells them on. The animals, which are only a few weeks old, then often go straight to a fattening farm in countries like Spain. Hardly fattened, the German cows are on their way to the Middle East or North Africa.

Even legal paths still lead from Germany to so-called third-world countries. Simply by moving animals from one federal state with an export ban to another without this restriction and exporting them from there.

NGO’s, dairy farmers, official veterinarians and business people in the leather and slaughter and transport industry are interviewed or seen in the documentary.

Those responsible should act
Animal welfare organization Eyes on Animals tries to reduce the suffering of animals in slaughterhouses in Turkey. Lesley Moffat, founder of Eyes on animals: “The meat, dairy and leather industry and animal traders/exporters are the big players and responsible for these problems. They must stop exporting and instead invest in completely cleaning up the problems first.”

She also sees small changes coming: “We are relieved to finally see that more and more European farmers are becoming aware and angry too. Some dairy farmers are even admitting now that the only way forward is to change the dairy system from within by keeping all calves in the herd, on the farm, instead of selling them to traders that export them under horrific conditions all over the world.”

Watch the documentary here.

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