Commission promises to put live animal transport high on the agenda

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Commission promises to put live animal transport high on the agenda

21 September 2017
Eurogroup for Animals
News
Thanks to over 1 million signatures from EU citizens calling to end long distance live animal transport, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis has put animal transport high on the agenda.

Eurogroup for Animals welcomes the setup of a sub group dedicated to live transport on the EU Animal Welfare Platform [1], which was announced during a meeting with the Commissioner today. This sub group should focus on the need to revise the current system and rules governing long distance live animal transport [2], and put in place a long term strategy to replace this inhumane trade.

Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals said, “Today’s recognition by the Commission of the need to significantly improve the welfare of animals in transit within and outside the EU shows there is light at the end of the tunnel. As the situation is becoming more and more urgent as the number of animals involved in long distance transport is dramatically increasing especially to third countries, we welcome the Commission’s openness for not only working on short term solutions but also a long term strategy. Now is the time for us to work together to make this happen.’’

Flemish Minister for Animal Welfare, Ben Weyts who officially handed over the signatures from the #StopTheTrucks campaign [3] to Commissioner Andriukaitis said, “citizens all over Europe are very concerned about the lack of transport journey time limits. Thanks to the campaign #StopTheTrucks, animal welfare is back on the EU agenda. Scientific evidence proves that the length of the journeys has a negative impact on the health and welfare of animals.” Minister Weyts said today’s meeting was a step forward in the right direction: Another way of trading is possible and we have raised the need for a strategy to replace long distance live transport with a trade of meat and carcasses only or another possibility would be slaughtering closer to home, which is not only good for animal welfare, but also for food safety.”

At Member State level, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, and Sweden have joined the Ministerial Animal Welfare Alliance’ call on the European Commission to significantly shorten journey times for live animals and improve transport conditions. The Commission reiterated the need to have more Member States on board.

Eurogroup for Animals looks forward to working closely with the Commission to make #StopTheTrucks a reality.

ENDS

Contacts:

Francesca Porta, Programme Officer, Farm animals, Eurogroup for Animals, Email: f.porta@eurogroupforanimals.org, Tel: +32 2 740 08 28

Lucy Mathieson, Communications Officer, Eurogroup for Animals, Email: l.mathieson@eurogroupforanimals.org, Tel: +32 2 740 08 25

Notes:

[1] EU Animal Welfare Platform https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/welfare/eu-platform-animal-welfare_en

[2] Currently, they are ineffective with enforcement patchy at best – the numbers of animals being transported have increased dramatically since the current law came into application in 2007. After 10 years from the entry into force of Regulation 1/2005 evidence shows that this legislation is not fit for purpose. More than 200 reports have been sent to the European Commission in the past 10 years exposing to the EU the infringements that occur routinely and systematically during live transport of animals.

[3] #StopTheTrucks was launched on the backdrop of an Eurobarometer survey showing that a staggering 94 percent of European citizens believe that protecting the welfare of farm animals is important.  Every year, at least 1 billion poultry and 37 million live cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and equines are transported alive within the EU and to Third countries. http://www.eurogroupforanimals.org/1-million-european-citizens-call-stopthetrucks

Please give appropriate credit to the photos: © François de Ribaucourt https://www.flickr.com/photos/eurogroupforanimals/sets/72157689378616885  

We welcome the Commission’s openness for not only working on short term solutions but also a long term strategy.
Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals