Thanks to the vote today in plenary endorsing the report on better animal welfare for transport within and outside the EU, the Social Democrats in the European Parliament reiterated the need for better animal welfare when animals are transported within the EU, and over its external borders. The S&D members in the agriculture committee had already made it clear that the implementation of the current Regulation needs to improve, not only within the EU, but also in long-distance transport to third countries.
Maria Noichl who shadowed this report for the S&D Group, stated:
“Every year over a billion animals travel the roads of Europe and at least six million of them on routes that take over eight hours. The statutory minimum requirements are rarely met to a satisfactory level. Animal welfare must stay on the political agenda, to inform a new, sustainable agricultural policy as well as any revision of the Animal Transport Regulation.
“The transport of live animals has steadily increased in recent decades. This comes from increasing farm specialisation, concentration in different stages of production, and processes such as slaughter being carried out where costs are lowest.
“Transport of live animals is often cheaper than transporting meat but this should not be the objective. We need to address this animal suffering - ideally with long-distance transport for adult animals limited to a maximum of eight hours. This could also have a positive impact on the environment, with fewer animal transport trucks on the road.
"The current Regulation already provides good rules, but they are often neglected or poorly implemented in different EU member states. It is time for member states to finally bring changes. Animal welfare is not optional!”