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Dear donors and followers,

There is good news! The Netherlands has followed the steps of several Federal States of Germany and taken the grand decision to immediately stop approving long transport journeys of live animals to countries outside the EU that would require a 24-hr rest break!

For years this has been discussed, negotiated, debated… it was often small organizations working in the field against the lobby groups trying to convince the authorities to take action... now finally some authorities in Europe have gotten the guts to put theory into action and really effectively apply the welfare law! In our eyes, they are setting history!
I cannot say how pleased we all are at Eyes on Animals. We have been active for over 10 years trailing trucks and investigating the export of animals from the EU to countries far outside the EU borders. Our main focus was Turkey where we conducted investigations every summer when temperatures ran up to 45 degrees. We sent all of our findings to the authorities and press, including photos of the very tiny and unhygienic stable on the Turkish side of the border, or the parking lots without even shade or water, where EU animal trucks were waiting all day and in most cases, for days in Ankara and Istanbul.

It was a long overdue decision, and now all the remaining EU member states need to do the same, especially ones that play big roles in export such as Denmark, Czech Republic and France. But the Dutch and some German officials have set the path now, shown it is possible to put your foot down against the large powerful live-export lobby groups.

The reason why they, after hard work, could justify and put such a grand decision into place is that there was enough proof that there was a complete absence of proper resting stations to unload the animals into in these countries. In fact, most exporters and transporters were simply lying and cheating, claiming to the authorities that they were unloading their animals as legally required in far away places in Russia and Turkey. But in truth they were leaving the animals on board because there was no infrastructure there.
Learn more about this important news >
A few examples of what we witnessed during our inspections:
Extreme cold: livestock trucks carrying cattle from Europe, stuck in the snow in Russia with a frozen water system.
Dirty drinking devices on a truck carrying animals from the Czech Republic to eastern Turkey.
One of hundreds of journey logs claiming a 24-hr rest at fake control post.
Extreme heat: Romanian bull suffering from extreme heat stress and deprivation of water stuck on board for over the EU maximum hours in Turkey.
Bull on route from EU for slaughter in Turkey desperately drinks from a bottle of one of our inspectors.
Photo of what was found at the fake control post address in Samara, Russia – a bus terminal (image: google)

The importance of working in the field

Ten years ago I set up Eyes on Animals as a field-work organization. I wanted us to be on the ground, where the animals were, to really find out what was going on with them. On paper things often look too one-sided, either very pretty or very ugly. In the field, talking directly to the people working with the animals and documenting exactly what was going on with the animals, we were able to find out what the exact problems were, and what was needed to solve them.

Eyes on Animals would also like to show appreciation for the other grass-route organizations working in the field along these export routes, like Animal Welfare Foundation, Animals’ Angels, Animals International. We would like to thank CIWF for also their part, especially in editing our footage and making films as well as helping write the letters of complaint with us afterwards and Eurogroup for Animals for keeping this topic alive in Brussels.

It is a combination of accurate information from the field and strong communication that has helped officials see the whole picture and make good decisions like this recent one.
Improving the welfare of animals takes a lot of hard work and patience. Years of documenting from the field followed by writing reports and press releases.
Thank you for holding your breath in for so long with us.
Lesley Moffat
director of Eyes on Animals
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