EP Animal Transport Committee meet for the first time
During its constitutive meeting on 23 September, the Committee of Inquiry on the protection of animals during transport (ANIT) elected Tilly METZ (Greens/EFA) as its Chairwoman. The competing candidate for chairperson was Sylvia Limmer (ID, DE).
Marlene Mortler (EPP, DE), Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL, NL), Mohammed Chahim (S&D, NL) and Martin Hojsik (Renew, SK) were appointed as Vice-Chairs. Together, the Chairwoman and Vice-Chairs will make up the bureau of the Committee, elected for the whole mandate of one year.
Almost half of ANIT’s 30 Members and 25 substitutes are also Members of the EP Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals which was a driving force in calling for its creation. The Committee of Inquiry was established by a very large majority during the EP’s plenary session in July 2020 upon a request presented by 181 MEPs to the Conference of Presidents (EP President and leaders of political groups in the House).
The Committee’s main objective will be to look into alleged violations in the application of European Union law governing live animal transport both within and outside the Union. For this, they can consult experts and stakeholders and invite them for public hearings or carry out themselves study trips (COVID-19 pandemic allowing) to see the situation on the ground. The results of the inquiries and assessments will be the basis for an investigation report which will be adopted at the end of ANIT’s one-year mandate. This report can be used as a source document for the urgently needed revision of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations.
The ANIT-Committee has not yet published a timetable for upcoming activities but among the important next steps to take will be the appointment of the rapporteur and the shadow rapporteurs of the investigation report.
A first attempt to create an EP Committee of Inquiry on animal transport dates back to 2017. At the time, it was supported by 223 MEPs from all parties and political groups. However, the EP Conference of Presidents, upon request from the Agriculture Committee, rejected this request opting for a less costly solution with an EP report on the implementation of Council Regulation No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport within and outside the EU, (2018/2110(INI))
This report, drafted by Animal Welfare Intergroup Member Jørn Dohrmann MEP (ECR, DK), was adopted at the end of the last Parliamentary term. It specifically recommends in its article 22 that the “Parliament establishes a committee of inquiry on the welfare of animals during transport within and outside the EU as from the beginning of the next parliamentary term in order to properly investigate and monitor alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport. The current ANIT Committee is therefore also a consequence of this recommendation expressed by the EP during the former term.