dpatopbilder - 02.07.2022, Niedersachsen, --: Schweine warten in einen Anhänger auf den Transport zum Schlachthof. In einem schweinehaltenden Betrieb im Landkreis Emsland ist die Afrikanische Schweinepest (ASP) nachgewiesen worden. Der Befund des Landesamtes für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit liege vor, teilte das Landwirtschaftsministerium in Hannover am Freitagabend 01.07.2022 mit. Foto: Lars Klemmer/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

“EU rules on animal transport are outdated, misleading and poorly enforced,” the European Parliament said in a press release in January 2022. Animals would have to be better protected during transport or even meat should be transported instead of live animals, it said.

After examining alleged breaches of animal transport rules in the EU since June 2020, a committee of inquiry concluded that EU rules are not always respected and do not fully address the different needs of animals.

Nevertheless, thousands of cows, pigs and chickens are still being transported every day within Germany and beyond national borders in so-called live animal transports. But not only the long-distance transports are a problem. Even on short distances within Germany, serious accidents are not uncommon.

Around 700 piglets died on Tuesday after a pig transporter had an accident on Autobahn 3 in Bavaria. According to the police, there were around 900 animals in the truck. About 150 of them had to be killed after the accident because of their ailments, about 550 died beforehand as a result of the accident.

According to the police, the truck came off the road near Wiesentheid in Lower Franconia in the area of ​​a construction site and overturned. The 34-year-old driver had probably lost control of the animal transporter due to a medical problem. He and his 42-year-old passenger were injured in hospitals.

The construction workers and firefighters prevented the 200 piglets that survived the accident from roaming the freeway. Because of the heat, the animals were cooled by the fire brigade with extinguishing water. Later, the pigs were loaded into a backup vehicle and taken away.

“Such serious accidents happen almost every week,” says Jan Peifer, CEO of the German Animal Welfare Office. Almost all accidents are due to human error. “Apparently, staff are being used who lack the necessary expertise. Or people are simply overtired and overwhelmed,” says Peifer.

Another accident occurred on Wednesday morning: A truck loaded with 600 pigs landed on the Autobahn 7 near Loop (Rendsburg-Eckernförde district in Schleswig-Holstein) on the side in the ditch next to the road. According to the police, veterinarians had to euthanize about 450 of the approximately 600 animals on board on site.

Only a quarter of the pigs remained unharmed and could be transported further. The truck left the road near Neumünster for reasons that are still unclear and overturned in a ditch. The 24-year-old driver and his one-year-old passenger suffered minor injuries and were released after treatment at the hospital.

According to the police in Neumünster, some animals were also thrown out of the van. The motorway had to be completely blocked in one direction for hours. This resulted in significant traffic delays.

The animal protection organization Four Paws assumes that there are many unreported cases of such accidents, because there are no nationwide statistics on traffic accidents involving live animals. “Accidents involving animal transport not only lead to immense animal suffering, but also pose an immediate danger to people, because the animals often run across the road completely disturbed, which can lead to further accidents.”

As early as January, MEPs called on the Commission to present an action plan by 2023 at the latest to support, among other things, a transition from live animal transport to meat transport. “We need to invest in more and better solutions to reduce the need to transport live animals,” said co-rapporteur Isabel Carvalhais.