Hundreds of live animals, piled up in confined spaces and without food or water, sometimes even in the presence of carcasses. These are just some of the infractions discovered during police checks on Italian roads: following the note sent to regions, autonomous provinces, UVACs (Veterinary Offices for Community Compliance) and the Ministry of the Interior, numerous irregularities have been noted with regard to animal welfare detected by the authorities by the transporters.
Animals piled up without food and without water: the blitz
The Animal Equality team, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, made several reports on the Slovenian border to the authorities; the first concerned a truck from Hungary with 500 lambs on board, piled up on 4 floors in cramped and confined spaces. The traffic police of Trieste and the veterinarians of the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia found the following irregularities, which resulted in a fine of 3,000 euros for the driver of the vehicle:
- watering system not working and with water leaks, but not only: the system was designed for pigs and not for sheep, which are much smaller and with different needs therefore cannot drink enough;
- damaged vehicle interior temperature monitoring system;
- insufficient space for the lambs: the animals could not even stand up;
During a second report to the police by the Animal Equality team, another truck with nearly 600 lambs aged three to four months on board was arrested and fined 2,666 euros for lack of space – head animal and for transport without appropriate separators between mixed animals with and without horns.
On Saturday April 9, however, officers from the Stradale di Terni stopped a vehicle transporting sheep internationally. The driver was charged with numerous offences: from the lack of lighting in the load compartment for animal control, to the non-functional animal watering system, to insufficient space for the animal to stand perfectly right, to the lack of instrumentation suitable for carrying out the control of the loading plans, for an amount of 6 thousand euros. In addition, during the animal unloading phase, which was attended by Ausl staff from Terni and health staff from Viterbo, two dead lambs were found inside the loading compartment.
Transport of live animals: all complaints
In 2021, more than 400,000 lambs were transported from countries such as Hungary, Romania, Poland and Spain, and Animal Equality and ENPA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Sal
ute, they decided to act. Following dedicated meetings, the Ministry of Health has in fact decided to intensify control activity in the face of the numerous problems and violations of the laws denounced by the associations, which, together with the Foundation for Animal Welfare, are on the the road since 2018 to document the cruel transport of lambs in Italy. While lamb consumption has indeed fallen significantly in recent years, registering a 25% drop in 2021, on the other hand, transport has continued. The associations denounced in particular:
- Transport of unweaned lambs on inadequate trucks for up to 30 consecutive hours of travel, thus documenting a very serious violation of regulations;
- Transporting animals without bedding, exposed to the weather and without access to food and water;
- Transport of dead or deceased animals due to travel conditions;
- Animals piled up on top of each other, their legs wedged and their heads leaning against the roofs of the trucks;
- Dead animals dragged from trucks once they arrive at the slaughterhouse and never properly reported;
All this is still happening today, although the European Parliament tried earlier this year to play down the dramatic problems of transporting live animals with the rejection of the report of the ANIT commission of inquiry. “It is more urgent than ever to continue monitoring these transports, denouncing companies that continue to violate European regulations and inflict continuous and unnecessary suffering on animals – declare the associations – We have seen that it is not only the transport of lambs, but that all other animals, including cattle and horses, are managed irregularly and without any respect for the animals, as evidenced by the numerous sanctions of recent days. it is essential to do more and we are very satisfied that Italy has decided to do your part with this initiative of the Ministry of Health However, this is only a first step, so we will be on the road these days to document the transport of lambs and report violations to authorities, continuing to report an unresolved issue to this day.Stricter and stronger actions and laws are needed to truly ensure compliance with regulations and animal welfare”.