With the rapid spread of the coronavirus across Europe we are in very worrying times, unlike anything we have seen before. We sincerely hope that you and your friends and families are safe and well. Now more than ever farm animals need us, with much of the country on lock down and everyone’s attention taken up with covid-19 there is a real risk that animals may be neglected, farm animals in particular.

COVID-19: Live Export Border Chaos

The Covid 19 situation across Europe is worsening with lockdowns introduced in most countries and borders closed except for commercial, medical or diplomatic reasons. Live export is permitted to continue with many trucks leaving Rosslare three times a week, mostly full of unweaned calves going to veal farms

There are reports of delays at borders across Europe leaving animals stuck in trucks for hours on end and some borders not allowing trucks through. There has also been a report of chickens dying whilst waiting to get through a border. On top of the delays the monitoring and regulating of livestock trucks will be inadequate with all the confusion and chaos that is happening right now all across Europe.

Issues Include:

  • Minimum controls on animal transports by vets (due to fewer officials working)
  • No controls by European Police on the roads because they are too busy with other issues related to Corona Virus.
  • No animal welfare NGOs in the field to monitor and aid the situation.
  • Inadequate communication between Member States.
  • Third country borders such as Bulgaria-Turkey may not accept livestock, including sea exports.
  • There are currently traffic jams of 40km+ at the German-Poland border as well as long delays at several other borders across Europe.
  • Medical supplies and healthcare workers are not able to get through.
  • Croatia has closed it’s borders to all human traffic including drivers of live export trucks from high risk areas, but there is confusion over what the high risk areas are and this keeps changing.
  • Human health is being put at increased risk – all non-essential travel is banned in an effort to contain the virus, schools, bars, shops etc are closed yet animals continue to be transported all over Europe and beyond with a large number of workers involved including drivers, animal handlers, veterinarians, border personnel etc. France, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium and of course Italy all have thousands of confirmed Covid 19 cases and livestock transporters are passing through, going back and forth several times a week.

The essence of EU Regulation 1/2005 is Article 3 – no person shall transport animals or cause animals to be transported in a way likely to cause injury or undue suffering to them.

All live export should be suspended on journeys over eight hours as neither veterinarians nor police will have time during the crisis to enforce Regulations and this is also increasing risk of spreading the virus.

You can help by emailing Minister Creed and EU leaders asking them to suspend live export, for the sake of animal and human health.

Contacts below: – Stella Kyriakidou EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety – Janusz Wojciechowski EU Commissioner for Agriculture
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