Animal transport: MEPs divided on measures to be taken

After eighteen months of investigation, MEPs have made the almost unanimous observation that the rules on animal transport are not only not well respected, but are also insufficient to guarantee animal welfare. Thursday, December 2, the report of the parliamentary committee of inquiry on the transport of animals was adopted by 30 votes for, 0 against and 1 abstention.

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MEPs, on the other hand, were divided as to the measures to be taken. If they have agreed on the need to strengthen controls during transport, install CCTV cameras in trucks or impose the presence of a veterinarian on board boats transporting livestock, they did not manage to agree on a maximum duration of transport , that some of the elected officials wanted to limit to eight hours (15 votes in favor, 15 against, 1 abstention), no more than on the ban on the export of live animals to third countries, on which there is no consensus ‘is clear.

Several dramas

Each year, 1 billion animals move within the European Union (EU) or to other countries. Deficiencies in controls, excessive transport times, unsuitable trucks, garbage containers … Over the years, violations of the regulations on animal transport, as well as their limits, have been abundantly documented by associations and launchers of alert, but also noted in official reports, emanating, for example, from the European Commission, on animals exported to sea. The news was also marked by several tragedies, such as the sinking of the Queen-Hind, at the end of 2019, off the coast of Romania, with 14,000 sheep on board, or the wandering at sea for almost three months, at the beginning of 2021, of two livestock freighters that left Cartagena, in Spain, refused in all ports, and forced to return to square one so that all the animals are euthanized there.

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“It is abnormal for a calf to be born in France, to be fattened in Cartagena and to get on a boat to be sent outside the European Union and to be slaughtered there”, considers the MEP Caroline Roose (Verts / ALE), member of the committee of inquiry, who regrets the lukewarmness of the recommendations adopted and a vote “Halftone”. The Eurogroup for Animals platform, which represents more than 80 animal protection associations, also said it was disappointed by this vote, which “Some minor improvements but no substantive changes”. Faced with these criticisms, the co-rapporteur Daniel Buda (PPE) considered that the measures voted “Take into account the realities that surround us”, justifying: “The transport of live animals is an important branch of the economy of the European Union. “

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Animal transport: MEPs divided on measures to be taken