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Dear donors and friends,

Carola Schouten, the Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, wants a ban on the long-distance transport of unweaned calves. She is committed to a European ban and will therefore urge the EU Agriculture Council to amend the European Transport Regulation. She also wants the ban to apply to animals destined for slaughter.

A ban would mean, among other things, that The Netherlands can no longer import unweaned calves from Ireland, Denmark, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states. There are tens of thousands of them on the roads every year.
Unweaned calves on their way to veal farms in The Netherlands.

The Minister is of the opinion that the welfare of unweaned calves suffers when they are transported over long journeys because they cannot be properly fed. At this age their diet consists only of milk, something that cannot be offered to them on board.

We can only agree with her. Eyes on Animals has trailed many trucks carrying unweaned calves from Ireland, Latvia and Lithuania in the past 10 years. Our investigations proved that animal-welfare laws were structurally violated: calves were on the road for too long and were not given any milk.

We also exposed, in collaboration with the French organization L214, serious physical abuse of young calves at a frequently used control post in France where Irish calves on their way to the Netherlands were unloaded to rest.

Eyes on Animals also revealed the poor condition Polish, Latvian and Lithuanian calves were in once they arrived at veal farms in The Netherlands, many of which were too weak and dehydrated to walk out of the trucks on their own and were instead dragged.

Calf transports from Ireland

Calf transports from the Baltic States

The footage from our inspections made it on the major international news channels and sites, such as Swedish news, The Times, Le Parisien, BBC, Hart van Nederland, RTE Prime Time (Ireland), and The Guardian. After each inspection, we also sent an extensive report of our observations and the violations documented by our teams to the responsible authorities, including the Dutch minister of Agriculture.

We are very pleased that the Minister is insisting that long-journeys for unweaned calves and animals destined for slaughter be phased out and wish her every success. We will continue to carry out our inspections unabated so that the authorities of other countries also push for an EU-wide ban.
Lesley Moffat
director Eyes on Animals
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