Transport time of live animals must be shortened, it is no longer permitted to bring animals to countries which do not meet European animal welfare standards and violations of the European Union’s (EU) animal transport rules must be dealt with more severely. This was advised in a report by the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament last week, also at the initiative of the Dutch Party for the Animals.
Scared pigs during transport (Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals)
The so-called implementation report on animal transports by the Agriculture Committee says that transports with live animals – which can now take days to weeks – must be shortened. Better checks should be made on compliance with the rules issued by the EU to protect animals during transport. Carriers who do not observe those rules, resulting in serious animal abuse, must be sanctioned more severely and more consistently; for example by vehicle impoundment. Additionally, animals should no longer be transported to countries outside the EU if compliance with animal welfare rules cannot be guaranteed.
The implementation report was produced, also at the initiative of the Party for the Animals, in relation to serious and structural malpractices during animal transports in and from Europe. Party for the Animals MEP Anja Hazekamp also negotiated on the Agriculture Committee’s recommendations. “Better inspections and heavier sanctions for incorrect animal transports are urgently needed. It is of great importance that animal transports are dealt with in practice and not just on paper.”
European Commission refuses to protect animals
Party for the Animals MEP Anja Hazekamp
Animal protection organisations have submitted two hundred detailed reports to the European Commission since 2007. These state how animals are loaded onto overcrowded lorries, are often not able to stand up, and are transported in extreme temperatures. The reports also contain evidence of sick and wounded animals being transported, animal abuse, and lack of water facilities.
“All these malpractices are against EU regulations, yet the European Commission never took any action to better protect animals during transport. It is a disgrace,” according to Hazekamp.
Last summer, the MEP travelled to Croatia and Slovenia to inspect animal transports.
“The transports where animals were transported to countries outside the EU are the longest and the most horrendous ones. After travelling through Europe for days, the animals are transferred, often heavy-handed and in extreme heat, to ships with destinations far outside the EU. As soon as the animals cross the EU border, no one is concerned with their condition or feels responsible for their well-being. It is not just cruel – after all, they are live creatures who are conscious and have feelings – but it is also against the decision of the European Court. It stipulates that animals should be protected according to European regulations during their entire journey. This cannot be guaranteed at all, so for that reason transports to countries outside the EU must be prohibited,” according to Hazekamp.
Next to the recommendations approved by the Agriculture Committee last Thursday week, the Party for the Animals made more proposals. “For example to prohibit the transport of unweaned animals, such as two weeks’ old calves. In addition, we want to drastically reduce the number of animal transports. This can only be achieved if we keep fewer farmed animals and produce more locally. The Agriculture Committee did not agree.”
On the 14th of February next, the full European Parliament will vote on the Agriculture Committee’s recommendations in Strasbourg.