London 18th August – Today the UK Government has outlined new measures to reduce the suffering of farmed animals. Whilst FOUR PAWS welcomes the attempts to shorten journey times, particularly for broiler chickens which has been reduced to four hours, increase headroom and enforce stricter regulation and checks during extreme weather, today’s response does not go far enough to improve the sub-standard conditions live animals are transported in. The global animal welfare organisation has been calling for a prohibition of all long-distance transports and exports, as well as a ban on transport by sea following the tragedies onboard the Karim Allah, Elbeik and those vessels in the Suez Canal earlier this year.
Says Corinna Reinisch FOUR PAWS Farm Animal Campaigner: “We want a resolute end to live animal transport. Trade should shift to a trade in meat and carcasses and slaughter should happen at the closest suitable slaughterhouse only. Until this can be realised, FOUR PAWS welcomes some of the recommendations and the limitation of journey time for broiler chickens to four hours is a highlight amongst the consultation. We are also encouraged to see considerations of the external temperatures of vehicles, as opposed to focusing solely on the internal temperatures and a prohibition of long journeys if the temperatures rise above 25 degrees.” But not all suggestions were welcomed. Reinisch elaborates: “Decreasing the temperature limit to zero degrees for long journeys is a step in the wrong direction though as low temperatures are proven to be both emotionally and physically distressing to certain species.”
More to be done
Today represents a step in the right direction, but notably absent was any legislation around transport via sea. This move is urgently needed and the glaring issues with it were highlighted earlier this year with the tragedies on board the Karim Allah, Elbeik and those vessels in the Suez Canal. Reinisch adds: “But any improvements, however partial they may be, cannot be a siloed effort, we need a widespread acceptance of the need to change and improve conditions across all of Europe, and ideally even further afield. New Zealand is already leading the pack in prohibiting the movement of breeding animals and as a country that prides itself on its high animal welfare standards, the UK can no longer turn away from this pressing crisis. Today marks a step in the right direction, but it is not over yet and FOUR PAWS will continue to campaign for better protection of animals, worldwide.”
A step in the right direction
Also notably absent in the response to animal transportation consultation was that the guidelines do not apply to journeys for breeding, scientific research, competition or shows. Throughout the responses from the copious NGOs there was a thread of concern regarding local abattoirs as well as their limited capacity.
"Today marks a step in the right direction, but it is not over yet and FOUR PAWS will continue to campaign for better protection of animals, worldwide.”
- Corinna Reinisch FOUR PAWS Farm Animal Campaigner