Open Letter to Official Vets to refuse to approve animal transports to third countries


Open Letter to Official Vets to refuse to approve animal transports to third countries

28 February 2019
Three Bavarian districts have refused to give certificates that approve the export of live animals to third countries. Eurogroup for Animals calls on the Official Veterinarians of all the Member States to follow their example.

Dear Official Veterinarians,

We are writing to seek your support in the fight against the cruelty related to live animal transport to non-EU countries.

The European Union exports millions of sheep and cattle each year to Turkey, the Middle East, North Africa, Russia and Asian countries by air, road and sea. Enforcement of Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005 is difficult even within the EU, but once the animals enter third countries, it is virtually impossible to monitor compliance with the Regulation’s provisions or guarantee the welfare of the animals.

For over 20 years journalists, NGOs and official sources have been reporting on systematic violations of EU Regulation 1/2005, and inhumane slaughter practices in third countries worsen the picture. Despite the European Court of Justice (Eu CoJ) ruling that EU Regulation 1/2005 must apply until animals reach their final destination (case C-424/13), journeys to non-EU countries are systematically taking place. EU veterinarians currently approve these journeys, even though:

  • The majority of third countries lack control posts to rest animals for 24 hours;

  • It is impossible to trace the journeys of animals, especially by sea;

  • There is no information available to assess if importing countries’ infrastructures and handling practices comply with the EU legislation.

Recently an article published by Christoph Maisack and Alexander Rabitsch shed light on the legal responsibility undertaken by Official Veterinarians when they approve certain live animal journeys or certificates. Since then, veterinarians in different German districts have refused to approve journeys to certain third countries, and Bavaria has temporarily suspended live export to Maghreb states, Egypt, Iran, Azerbaijan and Caucasus states such as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

This move is mirrored in a Report (2018/2110(INI)) recently voted by the European Parliament that recommends that Member States ensure that all journeys are planned and executed  line with EU animal welfare requirements (paragraph 7); that the Commission develops a strategy to ensure a shift from live animal transport to a mainly meat/carcass and germinal products trade; and that unless animal transport standards in third countries are aligned with those of the EU, transports should be subject to bilateral agreements to mitigate the differences or forbidden entirely (paragraph 53).

Dear veterinarians, you have a key role to play in fighting against animal cruelty. You can ensure that the well-being of transported animals is preserved in line with EU law by refusing to sign the necessary certificates that allow transport permits to third countries. We depend on you to support the ending of this inhumane trade.

We thank you in advance.

Yours sincerely,

Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals
and on behalf of  our 62 member organisations in 23 EU Member States, the USA, Switzerland, Australia, Serbia and Norway.

13/03/19Latest News – Bavaria now bans animal transport to 17 third countries