European Commission welcomes practical EU guidelines to assess fitness of pigs for transport
“Whilst the role of European legislation is essential in setting out harmonised rules to protect the animals’ welfare, guidelines such as these which explain how these rules should be carried out in practice are crucial,” said Mr Gavinelli, Head of the Animal Welfare Unit of DG SANTE, speaking after the meeting. Continuing, he added that “these joint guidelines will help all those responsible to work together to ensure a high level of welfare of transported animals”.
These guidelines are designed to provide easy to understand help and advice to professionals involved in the transportation of pigs and aim to complement existing EU legislation.
The guidelines do not represent the real situation in Europe today, but provide a comprehensive list of situations that may occur and the conditions that may result in an animal being classed as unfit for transport to help operators ensure animal welfare is constantly maximised.
The guidelines are visual and use photographs/drawings and simple texts to help all operators decide on the suitability of pigs for transport. Ensuring a high level of welfare of animals during transport is in everyone’s interest. Transporting animals that are unfit not only causes animal suffering but could also lead to penalties, financial losses and the withdrawal of the authorisation of the transporter and/or the driver as well.
Whilst the guidelines’ primary aim is to ensure a high level of animal welfare, they also can be useful to better protect the health and safety of anyone involved in the transport process.
The guidelines are currently available in English, with Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish, Romanian and Spanish versions available in the next few months. If you are a professional involved in the transport of pigs (producer, veterinarian, transporter, etc.), you can request a copy through the UECBV website or via email@example.com
Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals: “As the only pan-European animal welfare organisation, Eurogroup for Animals considers it important to be constructive and to work with other stakeholders on concrete initiatives aimed at improving animal welfare. These new guidelines can contribute to creating a higher awareness among operators and to improving the welfare of pigs during transport. However, based on all available scientific and factual evidence, we are also aware that live animal transport is a major source of animal suffering, and for this reason we want live transport to be limited, both in terms of maximum duration, and in terms of the overall numbers of animals transported each year across the EU. Therefore our participation in the drafting of these guidelines should not be seen as an endorsement of live transport per se.”
Our participation in the drafting of these guidelines should not be seen as an endorsement of live transport per se.Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals