The Netherlands stops live export on animal welfare grounds


The Netherlands stops live export on animal welfare grounds

26 May 2020
Eurogroup for Animals
A letter from the Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality to the Dutch Parliament has announced that live exports of animals to non-EU countries will no longer be approved if a control post is needed.

Carola Schouten’s communication yesterday said that the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) will no longer sign off on such exports as of 26th May. The same decision has already been taken by some German Federal Ministries, among them Hessen, Bavaria, Brandenburg, Saxony, and Lower Saxony for live exports to and/or through Russia. 

The decision has been taken in light of the lack of information, as reported by the Netherlands, from exporters and Russia on the presence of control posts that would allow EU law to be enforced even outside the EU, as prescribed by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

Indeed, after the 2015 CJEU verdict, it became clear that it is a legal obligation for the EU Member States to refuse to issue export certificates if there is no assurance that the EU’s legislative provisions on animal welfare during transport (EU Regulation 1/2005) will be complied with until final destination. However, this trade is routinely approved by the national Competent Authorities, despite the lack of official information and evidence on the existence, capacity and quality of control posts in the importing countries’ territories. In its recent audit reports on live animal export to non-EU countries (both by sea and by road), the EU Commission reported about widespread non-compliance with EU Regulation 1/2005.

Eurogroup for Animals welcomes the decision taken by the Dutch Government, and urges all EU Member States to properly enforce the EU law and to refuse to issue live export certificates. We also support a shift to a meat and carcasses as well as genetic material-only trade, and call on the EU Commission to work on this in the framework of the EU Farm-to-Fork Strategy.