EC’s health and welfare measures for COVID-19 may pose further problems for animals transported alive


EC’s health and welfare measures for COVID-19 may pose further problems for animals transported alive

1 April 2020
Eurogroup for Animals
Measures published by the European Commission yesterday to contain risks to health and animal welfare during the COVID-19 crisis may actually result in inappropriate checks on animals being transported.

The European Commission’s Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/466, which lays out temporary measures to contain risks to human, animal and plant health and animal welfare during certain ‘serious disruptions of Member States’ control systems’ - such as the current COVID-19 crisis - could mean less stringent checks on live animal transports. As Member States have informed the Commission that the pandemic is making it difficult to carry out official controls in accordance with EU legislation, the new implementing regulation is, for example, allowing official veterinarians to delegate certain official controls to non-professionals. It also authorises that electronic copies of certificates and attestations can be presented instead of original paper versions.

This Implementing Regulation has come about due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus situation to trade flows, with the European Commission under pressure to take measures to facilitate the movement of essential goods and live animal consignments. With the same aim, so-called ‘green lanes,’ fast-track lanes across borders for delivering supplies, including livestock consignments, were activated last week to facilitate trade and prevent animal welfare problems.

Eurogroup for Animals urges the EU Competent Authorities to ensure compliance with the regulation, and not to authorise intra- or extra-EU consignments of live animals unless all the provisions of the Transport Regulation can be guaranteed.

This crisis time should also prompt decision makers to consider structural solutions for the risks posed by live transport by putting forward an EU strategy to favour a meat and carcasses-only trade.

Francesca Porta, Farm Animals Programme Officer