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European Parliament votes to improve welfare of live animals during transport

Brussels, 12 December 2012

Eurogroup for Animals welcomes the outcome of the vote today in the European Parliament plenary on the own-initiative report of Janusz Wojciechowski MEP on the protection of animals during transport which sends a strong message to the Commission urging it to act quickly.

Despite the on-going implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, on the protection of animals during transport severe problems persist, due mainly to poor enforcement by Member States. This report goes a long way towards addressing the issues we see and calls on the Commission to act now:

· to ensure an effective and uniform enforcement of existing EU legislation on animal transport across all Member States;

· to present a full evaluation of all the economic, environmental and social costs and benefits incurred by the transport of animals, including a comparison between the transport of animals for slaughter and the transport of carcasses and food products;

· to implement an extensive consumer information campaign on the subject of the European regulations on animal welfare, providing continuous information on the changes being required of European producers for the purposes of raising the profile of their work and improving the added value of their production;

· to ensure that in all bilateral trade negotiations with third countries the EU’s animal welfare rules are included as the minimum standard required;

· to introduce legislative proposals before 1 January 2014, aimed at creating an EU-wide common framework for data collection and control through real-time satellite navigation;

· to undertake research into how new and existing technology can be applied in livestock vehicles to regulate, monitor and register temperature and humidity to protect the welfare of animals during transport;

· to increase the number of unannounced Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) spot inspections focused on animal welfare and the transport of animals;

· to ensure that veterinary controls on animals being transported take place at the end of their transport.

“The Report sends a clear message to the European Commission that Europe’s citizens see the problems associated with the transport of live animals as a major issue. Mr Wojciechowski has listened to these concerns and produced a Report, that is supported by the European Parliament and which is extremely positive for animal welfare. However, as Eurogroup we still believe that there are some areas where we would call on the Commission to go even further especially when it reconsiders limiting the transport time of animals. We believe that this time should be minimised as much as possible and that animals should be slaughtered as close to the place of origin as possible,” commented Michel Courat, policy officer – Farm Animals at Eurogroup for Animals.

“There has been much resistance by the Commission to come forward with new legislation but it must take its responsibilities seriously. It must also act today to ensure that all Member States play their part and enforce the current legislation to improve the welfare of millions of animals today and penalise effectively those who flout the laws,” he concluded.


1. Eurogroup for Animals represents animal welfare organisations of nearly all EU Member States. Since its launch in 1980, the organisation has succeeded in encouraging the EU to adopt higher legal standards for animal protection. Eurogroup represents public opinion through its membership organisations across the Union, and has both the scientific and technical expertise to provide authoritative advice on issues relating to animal welfare. For more information about Eurogroup, visit www.eurogroupforanimals.org

2. Every year, more than 360 million animals are transported via European roads, rail and waterways and at least six million of those animals are subjected to long-distance transport that is often detrimental to their welfare.

3. Loading and unloading activities are very stressful operations and long transport adds to the stress and suffering by exposing the animals to a lack of space, hunger, thirst and exhaustion. Some journeys often last for more than 40 to 50 hours and it may even take as long as 90 hours before the animals reach their destinations.

4. Figures have shown that the intended purpose of 45% of the EU's long distance live animal trade is slaughter and 55% of the transport is carried out with a view to further fatten the animals.[1] This shows that a large proportion of animals are not slaughtered as close as possible from where they were reared, but rather transported only to be killed shortly upon arrival. The reasons for not slaughtering animals locally are most often economically motivated.

[1] Stevenson, P. (2008) Long Distance Animal Transport in Europe: A Cruel and Unnecessary Trade, London, Compassion In World Farming.

Source: Eurogroup for Animals
Author: For more information: Martyn Griffiths, e-mail: m.griffiths@eurogroupforanimals.org

Date: 2012-12-12


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