Hayvan Hakları İzleme Komitesi (HAKİM) (Animal Rights Watch Committee) has addressed a letter to the European Union (EU) and European Parliament (EP) authorities, calling for an end to violations of animal rights during the transportation of animals towards Turkey under bad conditions, including death and torture. In its letter, HAKİM asked the EU to “stop transporting animals to Turkey”.
In a letter sent separately to Ms. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mr. Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Czesław Adam Siekierski, Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development at the European Parliament, and Ambassador Mr. Christian Berger, Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, HAKİM highlighted that thousands of animals, generally transported to Turkey on a one-off journey, suffered from hunger, dehydration, diseases of bones and joints, adding that they died or became injured as a result. The organization ended its letter as such: “We remind that right to life is invaluable and this torment cannot be justified for the reason that States and companies earn money. We strongly hope that you will take steps to prevent this torture of exporting and transporting animals, who are defined as “farm animals” in your legislation, towards Turkey”.
“Stop this journey to death”
Coordinator of HAKİM, Veterinary Technician Burak Özgüner stated: “Thousands of animals are being transported to Turkey en masse and under awful conditions, making them prone to hunger, dehydration, diseases in general and bone-joint diseases in particular. They are exposed to some very disturbing practices such as electroshock or battering, be it while being transported, made to wait arbitrarily and legally, or debarked from ships or trucks. Animals, who are transported to Turkey from thousands of miles away, complete this journey to death after trying hard to survive, only to have broken bones in the end. Our letter gave a message to “stop this journey to death” to the EU. Neither the money that States and companies would earn nor the satisfaction of the human palate worth more than the right to life”.
Almost 1 million livestock animals to be imported
Council of Ministers Decision on the Application of Tariff Quotas on the Imports of Livestock and Meat entered into force on 29 July 2017 after having been published on the Official Gazette. According to the Decision, a quota of some 500 thousand for livestock cattle and some 475 thousand for livestock sheep was set, applicable for the state-run Meat and Milk Board with zero custom tax until the end of 2018. Emphasizing that the Decision rendered Turkey as an open market for several countries, the Coordinator of HAKİM Burak Özgüner stated: “This situation increases the already-existing oppression of animals, whose rights are severely violated. Therefore, imports of livestock animals must be stopped. We do not have the right to inflict such a torment on any living being”.