Whether they bring animals bred in the department for fattening in a foreign country or transit through Cher from other territories in France or the EU, many live animal carriers use the highways of the department for journeys that often last long hours. Without forgetting those for whom Cher and its slaughterhouses constitute the final destination.
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If it participates in the territory’s economy, this important traffic must comply with strict European animal welfare rules. Rules aimed at enforcing, among other things, the gendarmes and services of the Regional Directorate for Environment, Planning and Housing (Dreal) by carrying out unannounced inspections, as was the case on Thursday, in Charenton-du-Cher.
“Depending on each species, the restrictions and rules to be respected are different”
That day, two cattle transporters traveling from the southern part of Cher to reach Italy were intercepted by the gendarmes of the Departmental Road Safety Squadron. Number of cattle present in the trucks, vehicle equipment (presence of drinking troughs, ventilation, straw on the ground, adapted partitions, etc.), state of health of the animals … The seven gendarmes present and the two Dreal agents went to combs livestock trucks based on European rules, applicable in this area. “Depending on each species, the restrictions and rules to be respected are different,” said police officer Blasutti.
“Everyone is careful”
On that day, no infringement related to animal welfare was found, indicating that European rules and their strengthening in 2007 are bearing fruit. “Previously, you had to squeeze the animals as hard as possible. Now it’s not like that anymore, testified one of the two investigated carriers. The rules have really been taken into account for about three years. Everyone is attentive. »
On the other hand, where the shoe clamps are on the side of the driving times, which are regularly not observed. As proof, it was Thursday that the two carriers were to blame. One of them used his son’s driver’s license, which was put in the vehicle, and the police suggested that the man would then use his own card to complete the trip and thus not exceed the legal driving time. Assured him that while his son was present at the loading of the animals a few minutes earlier and that he was expected to take the wheel, he had to hurry with the plan to join his father further away.
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The carrier, from Pas-de-Calais, was able to return to the road with his own card, but will be summoned to the tribunal de grande instance in his department for driving with a card that did not belong to him. “He risks up to six months in prison and a fine of 3,750 euros,” said police officer Blasutti.
“I have no other solution”
As for the other carrier from Nièvre, if he was OK at the time of the check, the gendarmes and Dreal services, which can go up to 28 days back thanks to the data recorded in the vehicle’s tachograph, noted that he had repeated times scammed. Excessive daily driving and too short daily rest periods have given the driver several fines. “If we found staff, it would be less complicated,” explained the 66-year-old driver, also the manager of a transport company.
“No one wants to work. People see the nice trucks to drive in, but when it comes to loading and washing, there is no one left.” If he did not refuse to be in fraud, he assured that he has no other solution. ” He also added that it is sometimes complicated to juggle the transport laws and the waiting times that are sometimes imposed during loading. “There is not a week where it is not complicated. If we are forced to wait three hours, it is three hours on the shortest possible journey. And if the beginning of the week starts with a shift, the whole week is staggered. »