The EU is taking steps to change its law on live animal transport
The EU is about to change its rules on live animal transportation and is asking for tough measures taken against the member states that fail to apply the rules correctly along with more unannounced and risk-based checks for transporters as part of animal welfare policy.
"Actors in the transport chain need to live up to their obligations, whether they are farmers, traders of animals, veterinarians, or transport companies. We have now made it clear to the Commission and the member states that they must do so, either by enforcing current rules properly or by looking into new policy tools to apply new technology and minimise transport times", said rapporteur Jorn Dohrmann. His proposal was adopted by the European Parliament by 411 votes in favour to 43 against, with 110 abstentions, according to Pig333 magazine.
The EU Commission should impose penalties on member states failing to apply EU rules correctly, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) decided. EU states should prosecute breaches with effective and harmonised penalties, including confiscating vehicles and compulsory retraining for staff. MEPs also want to deploy modern technology to improve enforcement of current rules, including geolocation systems to track animals’ location and the duration of journeys, and a real-time feedback loop between points of departure and arrival. They push for a new 2020-2024 animal welfare strategy and a clear definition of what constitutes fitness for transport.
MEPs also want a science-based update of EU rules on transport vehicles to ensure sufficient ventilation and temperature control, appropriate drinking and liquid feed systems, reduced stocking densities and vehicles adapted to the needs of each species.
Animal journey times should be as short as possible, Parliament says. MEPs support local, mobile or on-farm slaughter and meat-processing facilities close to the place of rearing, short distribution circuits and direct sales. They also want the Commission to specify appropriate journey times for different species and to develop a strategy to shift from live animal transport to transport of meat-and-carcass and germinal products, when possible.
MEPs also insist that unless transport standards in non-EU countries are aligned to EU ones and properly enforced, the EU should seek to mitigate the differences through bilateral agreements or, if not possible, ban the transport of live animals to these countries.
"This applies to non-EU countries too. As the European Court of Justice said, the EU is responsible for animals even after they have left its territory. Therefore, either those countries ensure as high a level of protection for transported animals as we do or we should ban exports of live animals to those countries”, added Dohrmann.