* Animals held at Turkish border, sometimes for days in
* Insufficient water supplies leave animals desperate with
* Turkey drafts new animal welfare laws as seeks EU entry
By Nigel Hunt
LONDON, July 22 Animal welfare groups called on
Friday for the European Union to suspend exports of live animals
to Turkey, describing as "horrific" the transport conditions
they uncovered in an investigation, including dehydration and
"We are calling for the European Commission to suspend the
export of animals to Turkey as a matter of urgency in order to
prevent further suffering by EU animals," said Peter Stevenson,
chief policy advisor for Compassion in World Farming.
"Indeed, we believe that this inhumane and unnecessary trade
should be brought to an end altogether. The long distances and
high temperatures are too extreme to guarantee even the most
minimal animal welfare standards," he added.
The investigation was carried out by Eyes on Animals, the
Animal Welfare Foundation and Compassion in World Farming and
looked in to the export of bulls, pregnant heifers and sheep
from a number of EU members states including Austria, Hungary
and Latvia into Turkey.
The welfare groups checked 44 animal transports at the
border between Bulgaria and Turkey.
"Delays lasting hours, even days, regularly occur at the
border while the trucks wait for veterinary and customs
clearance. During the delays animals are left in blistering
heat on stationary vehicles without sufficient water and food,"
CWF said in a statement.
It noted temperatures of up to 58 degrees Celsius left
animals desperate with thirst.
"In many cases the water taps are not working or are not
turned on, or the water tank is empty. Even when the water
system is working, the overcrowding means that many animals
cannot reach the water devices," CWF said.
Turkey entered formal negotiations to join the EU in 2005.
These have included talks on food safety regulations, which
includes the welfare of animals.
A Turkish official said the agriculture ministry has
prepared a draft law covering the welfare of livestock during
transit, and it has been sent to relevant institutions for their
No immediate comment was available from the European
(Editing by Jane Baird)