DG SANTE audit reveals major problems with live export from Romania
The lack of proper checks translated into animals transported alive with inadequate equipment to ensure their welfare during transport, and on a vessel with serious structural problems. Worryingly, this is likely to have affected many more animals: as highlighted in the report, the authority in one port inspected by DG SANTE is responsible for the approval of 43 of the 79 (56%) livestock vessels approved by the Member States, so “there is a distinct possibility that animal welfare issues arise during sea transport on board these vessels”.
Indeed, past investigations have shown that during such voyages, heat and humidity combinations reach levels that cause heat stroke, resulting in animals literally cooking alive in the holds of vessels. Eurogroup for Animals’ member organisation Animals International, who were following this particular 2019 Romanian shipment’s progress last summer, found the vessel stopping at Gulf ports in temperatures of 47°C.
Auditors tasked with assessing the level of enforcement of the Transport Regulation at the Romanian port also found that there is a general lack of records in the system of controls to ensure animal welfare during transport by sea to non-EU countries. There is no evidence of checks confirming that the animals are fit to continue the journey, or of the adequacy of vessels’ drainage systems. Given the absence of documented procedures, records and support to official veterinarians in checking vessels, auditors concluded that “there is little assurance of the effectiveness of most controls carried out”.
“We welcome the decision of the European Commission to carry out an audit after the tragedy of last summer, and given the results, Romania should stay under strict scrutiny,” says Reineke Hameleers, CEO at Eurogroup for Animals. “Now we call on the Commission to start infringement proceedings against Romania and to start the process of a revision of the Transport Regulation to limit the duration of journeys and end these horrific sea transports for good”.
Now we call on the Commission to start infringement proceedings against Romania and to start the process of a revision of the Transport Regulation to limit the duration of journeys and end these horrific sea transports for good.Reineke Hameleers, CEO at Eurogroup for Animals