September 18, 2020 – Our Farm Animal Experts at FOUR PAWS, comment on the first meeting of the EU committee of Inquiry on Animals Transport in Brussels on the 21st September, 2020.
“The clear vote of the EU Parliament in favour of a Committee on animal transport in June 2020 already represents a milestone for animal welfare at the EU level. With today’s first meeting, the Committee is now taking on its assigned task. Every year, over one billion poultry and 37 million cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and horses are transported for slaughter, breeding or further fattening within the EU and to third countries. On the often week-long transports, the animals endure thirst, hunger, fear and stress. For far too long, the EU authorities have stood idly by and watched how poorly EU standards for the protection of these animals are implemented by the member states. We prompt the Committee to finally identify urgent problems and find sustainable solutions in favour of animal welfare.
Blatant shortcomings and serious violations are regularly revealed in the EU member states. The controls of the EU Transport Regulation by the states as well as measures taken by the EU Commission are also insufficient. The vessel tragedy in Romania in November 2019, in which over 14,000 sheep died, is just one single example of tragic accidents that are preventable and yet repeatedly claim numerous animal lives. Space requirements and overcrowding, a lack of break times, a lack of food and water, and transports in extreme heat, as well as suggestions for the revision of the EU Transport Regulation, are just some of the long overdue issues that the Committee must put on its agenda.
We expect the Committee to make recommendations to reduce animal suffering during transport. For example, limiting the transport duration of live animals to a maximum of eight hours, banning live animal exports to third countries, conducting more unannounced controls and introducing stricter sanctions for infringements. The long-term solution, however, must be to transport meat instead of live animals. This is the only way to end unnecessary animal suffering on long transport routes.”