Animals need better protection during transportation | Stream

Each year, millions of live animals are transported by land, sea, rail and air within and outside the European Union for slaughter, fattening or breeding. Their safety during such transfers should be ensured by specially approved EU rules in force since 2005. However, it has been proven that this is not the case.

The Commission of Inquiry into the Welfare of Animals in Transport (ANIT), which was set up in June 2020 to look into alleged violations of EU animal transport rules, concluded that EU rules in this area in member states are not always respected and do not take into account the needs different animals. The most obvious violations include lack of water or food supply, transportation of inappropriate animals, and overcrowding. Vehicles that are not suitable for transporting animals are used, and transport is sometimes carried out in extreme temperatures and over long transport times.

In order to remedy the situation, MEPs approved the corresponding recommendations on Thursday by 557 votes to 55 against and 78 abstentions. They called on the Commission and EU countries to step up efforts to respect animal welfare during transport, update EU rules and appoint an EU commissioner to be in charge of animal welfare.

Determine the duration of transportation and ensure reasonable comfort

The maximum duration of the journey of cattle to be slaughtered should be set at eight hours, as requested by MEPs, and the journey of pregnant animals in the last three months of pregnancy should be limited to four hours. Unbroken calves less than 4 weeks old should not be allowed to be transported unless they are transported by farmers for a distance of less than 50 km.

MEPs call for video surveillance in transport vehicles, especially when loading and unloading. National authorities should only allow transport if the temperature is expected between 5 and 30 degrees Celsius. MEPs are also demanding that temperatures, humidity and ammonia levels in vehicles be recorded.

Cessation of live animal exports

MEPs criticize the lack of a control system for the transport of animals to countries outside the European Union and demand that member states control all transfers to countries outside the European Union to ensure that the animals are provided with food and water, that irrigation facilities are working properly and that they have sufficient space and height. Live animals should only be allowed to be exported if they meet European standards for animal welfare.

Giving priority to transporting meat over transporting live animals

MEPs are also calling for a move to a more efficient and ethical system that encourages the transfer of semen or embryos for slaughter rather than raising animals, and carcasses and meat for slaughter rather than live animals. They call on the Commission to develop an action plan to support this transition by 2023 at the latest, including a proposal to establish a specific fund to reduce the social and economic impact of such a transition.


Daniel Boda, Rapporteur of the European Parliament (EPP, RO), said: “The welfare of animals during transport is non-negotiable and must be ensured until the animals reach their final destination. Transport of live animals must continue in both Member States and in third countries, respecting the highest standards Animal welfare. It is important to the EU economy and to the financial survival of our farmers.”

Co-Rapporteur Isabel Karvalhaes (S&D, PT) added: “Animal welfare is one of the main concerns of this institution. Transporting live animals is an integral part of animal welfare in the EU, which we in this commission of inquiry have assessed in detail and with great commitment. We need the investment. In more and better solutions to reduce the need to transport live animals. However, we have to keep in mind the social dimension of what we are proposing and how it will affect people.”

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