EU rules on live animal transport need a complete overhaul - demands Eurogroup for Animals following the publication of a European Commission report on the impact of the transport legislation on the sector and on the welfare of animals.
The European Union has had legislation in place to regulate the protection of farm animals in transit either to another farm for fattening or to the slaughterhouse since 1977. No other EU protection law has been so controversial and ineffective, with widespread problems of enforcement and lack of compliance which result in continued animal suffering.
More animals are transported than ever and the number of consignments has greatly increased, looking at the transport of pigs alone we see an increase of 70% today compared to 2005, and this report shows that the presumed economic impact and significant administrative burden has been exaggerated.
This increase in transport volume goes against the European Food Safety Authority’s scientific advice, published in January 2011 which clearly stated that we must in order to minimise the risk of transport-associated disease outbreaks develop strategies “that reduce the volume of transport and long distance transport of animals for finishing or slaughter or reducing journey times”.
It is less clear what the impact has been on animal welfare. This Report states that available information shows that “severe animal welfare problems during transport persist” whilst “the quality of transport has improved”. This is worrying especially when the external study on which the report is based only refers to a “slight improvement”.