Videos reveal ‘shocking’ animal abuse at cattle transport centres
Dutch food and product safety board NVWA has closed one cattle transport centre down and increased controls on others as video footage of serious animal abuse surface.
Animal protection organisation Ongehoord revealed what the NVWA called ‘serious failures’ at four transport centres, two in the Netherlands and two in Belgium. The organisation targeted centres on both sides of the border because of the close cattle trade links between the two countries, it said.
The videos, shot during undercover investigations this year and last year, show cows that ‘ill, unable to walk, or frightened to death’ and are being ‘pulled by the nose and ears and prodded with a pitchfork’, Ongehoord claimed. Calves, sometimes younger than two weeks old are being ‘hit, kicked, and driven on with sticks and electric prods’, it said.
Ongehoord also obtained documentation showing Belgian and Dutch industry regulatory bodies issued transport licences for sick, injured or heavily pregnant cows, which is against the rules.
The NVWA, which had been shown the footage earlier, said the treatment meted out to the animals is ‘shocking and totally unacceptable’ and immediately withdrew the operating licence for one of the centres, in Noord Brabant.
‘The people shown in the videos are clearly not carrying out their duty to treat and transport the animals with respect. These animals clearly cannot be transported but need care,’ a spokesman told the AD.
The NVWA said the the images confirm that some transport centres are substandard and that these are being monitored more closely. ‘But we can’t be everywhere all at once. The sector itself has its own responsibility to treat the animals well and protect them.’
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