The Spanish company with the worst record for breaking transport regulations is no longer transporting horses after authorisation for five of its vehicles was withdrawn and ten others were stopped and fined by the authorities.
The company was found to be transporting too many animals per vehicle, running trucks without single stalls and failing to make required rest stops. These conditions cause intense distress for transported horses, which then face slaughter at the journey’s end.
A victory for Handle with Care
The fines resulted from recent national legislation that penalises animal transporters who fail to comply with EU regulations; legislation that came into effect after sustained pressure from Asociación Nacional para la Defensa de los Animales (ANDA) and the Handle with Care coalition.
Campaigning by ANDA and Handle with Care has also seen improvements in other transport companies, such as trucks being fitted with single stalls.
However, the main areas of non-compliance remain stocking vehicles too densely, keeping faulty journey logs with unrealistic journey times and failing to stop for rest after the statutory 24 hours.
To verify this, ANDA recently collaborated with Animals' Angels to check two trucks carrying horses bound for Italy. In one, the journey log included a stop that, when questioned, both the driver and the company headquarters admitted he did not intend to make. In the other, the journey log was unrealistic.
These cases were reported to the authorities responsible for the enforcement of transport regulations in Spain, who have a positive relationship with Animals' Angels and ANDA.
Fighting cruelty through the law
The Handle with Care coalition calls for the enforcement of EU transport regulations on the Spain–Italy horse export route, which if properly applied will render the live transport uneconomical.
If EU regulations on maximum stocking densities were respected, up to 19 horses would be carried in a standard truck; currently companies are forcing 21 horses into vehicles, making a bad situation even worse.
The coalition will continue to work with national and EU authorities to improve the enforcement of existing regulations.
Making an impact
Following their placement of a Handle with Care advert in a Spanish magazine, ANDA has been invited to make a presentation at a public forum attended by hundreds of large farmers and businesses organised by the Regional Agriculture Authorities in Zamora, Spain.