Throughout Europe, 1000’s of animals are despatched on lengthy and treacherous journeys daily. By way of transporters and ships, they journey for days, typically weeks, typically solely to be slaughtered at their last locations.
Pierre Sultana is the Director of the European Coverage Workplace.
Animal welfare organizations have spent the final a long time drawing consideration to the merciless realities of reside animal transport. Numerous incidents have confirmed, time and again, that it’s unimaginable to make sure the welfare and security of animals throughout transport. From Karim Allah and Elbeik, the 2 vessels that had been caught at sea for a number of months, to Queen Hind, the ship that capsized, inflicting 1000’s of sheep to drown, from transporters driving in excessive heatwaves and with out correct watering tools to animals freezing to dying when vehicles drive within the chilly winter months, the problems confronted by reside animal transports appear countless.
Lately, motion has lastly been taken by the European establishments and the EU Member States. The European Fee dedicated to a revision of the transport regulation in its Farm to Fork technique and the European Parliament put in place a committee of enquiry in 2020 that spent over 18 months researching, reviewing and discussing reside animal transport and revealed a report in late 2021 and proposals to the Council and the Fee that had been adopted by the European Parliament in plenary session. The report confirmed not solely the risks of reside animal transport but additionally addressed the dearth of enforcement throughout Europe, permitting frequent violations of present guidelines.
Now, the European Union lastly has an opportunity to handle lots of the largest welfare and security considerations. With the health verify and revision of the EU animal welfare laws, the transport regulation can even be up to date. Stress just isn’t solely coming from NGOs and different animal welfare advocates, but additionally from a number of EU Member States.
The VUGHT nations offered a paper on the revision of the regulation, calling for shorter transport occasions, the transport of meat, carcasses and breeding materials as a substitute of reside animals, a ban on sure lengthy journey exports to 3rd nations by street and sea, extra particular laws for the transport of poultry and unweaned animals, and particular transport necessities, reminiscent of ceiling heights.
The paper shall be mentioned within the subsequent AgriFish Council assembly, the place the VUGHT states are hoping to realize the assist of different member states. That is the prospect for EU Member States to take a stance on animal cruelty and name on the European Fee for an bold revision of the regulation. We, together with many different animal welfare organisations, urge the European establishments and all Member States to comply with the 048 precept.
This could imply a drastic discount of most journey occasions to zero hours, so a complete ban, for the transport of unweaned animals or susceptible animals, reminiscent of closely pregnant or sick people.
4 hours needs to be the utmost transport time for rabbits, poultry and different small animals transported in crates, in addition to animals on the finish of their profession, as they’re extra susceptible to excessive temperatures throughout transport and dehydration. Eight hours needs to be the utmost transport time for any journey on the street for grownup ovine, bovine and pigs.
Together with the 048 precept, we urge member states to name for a complete ban on transport by way of sea, as all analysis has proven that animal welfare can’t be assured on vessels and sick or injured people can not get the care wanted, and a ban on all exports of reside animals to nations outdoors the EU.
It’s unimaginable to ensure the welfare requirements within the vacation spot nations; due to this fact the one technique of guaranteeing animal welfare throughout the whole journey is to solely transport animals between EU member states.
Animal welfare is an integral a part of a transition towards a greener and extra sustainable future, and reside animal transports jeopardize that welfare daily.
The European Union likes to painting itself as a frontrunner in issues of animal welfare! Now could be the prospect to place phrases into motion and eventually make the much-needed legislative modifications that might take the animal transport regulation into the 21st century. It’s now on to the European Fee, the European Parliament and the representatives within the Council of the European Union to make the EU a safer, kinder and extra sustainable place for animals and people alike.