Author Topic: Clampdown sought on long-haul animal transport 16.10.2012  (Read 515 times)

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Clampdown sought on long-haul animal transport 16.10.2012
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2012, 09:21:51 AM »
                       Clampdown sought on long-haul animal transport 

By on Oct 16, 2012 in News 

The European Commission has agreed on the need to review EU legislation on long-distance transport of animals to slaughter. height=301The long-distance transport of horses to slaughter has been described as the single biggest abuse of horses in Europe. © World Horse Welfare

European countries must enforce the rules over animal transport and do more to improve their welfare in transit, a European Union agriculture committee says.

Agriculture Committee MEPs passed a resolution on Thursday saying member states must enforce existing rules by checking journey times and imposing what it called dissuasive penalties on offenders.

The EU should also promote the use of local abattoirs in an effort to shorten journeys and should consider an eight-hour, EU-wide limit on journey times.

The committee’s vote is in line with a long-running campaign by the international charity, World Horse Welfare, which has described the long-distance transport of horses to slaughter as the single biggest abuse of horses in Europe.

It has campaigned for the European Commission to introduce a short, maximum journey limit for these horses.

The charity says horses can be trucked for days on end across Europe, packed into compartments with inadequate space in temperatures that can exceed 40 degrees Celsius.

Their suffering, it says, is often compounded by haulers flouting legislation that demands they must stop to feed, water and rest their live cargo every 24 hours.

It argued the long journeys are completely unnecessary because there are many licensed slaughterhouses across Europe that could take the horses earlier.

Janusz Wojciechowski, who investigated the issue for the committee, said: “Long-distance animal transport causes suffering to animals and increases costs for consumers.

“Unlike the [European] Commission, we believe that animal transport requires immediate action, in particular to reduce the numbers of animals transported and transport times.”

The resolution was passed by a vote of 31 in favour, four against and three abstentions.

The numbers of animals transported within the EU grew by 70 per cent from 2005 to 2009. One-third of these journeys took eight hours or more.

To remedy persistent animal welfare problems in transport, existing legislation in all EU member states must be properly and uniformly enforced, the MEPs insist.

More on-the spot inspections should be carried out and national sanctions against rule-breakers should be harmonised and made far more dissuasive, they say.

Measures to restrict the time taken to transport animals to slaughter to eight hours should be considered, but geographical and science-based exceptions for certain species must be allowed, the committee says.

However, an eight-hour journey limit would not by itself suffice to improve animal welfare, which often depends more on proper vehicle equipment and on the good handling of animals, MEPs say.

The committee therefore called for science-based improvements in transport conditions, including space allowances and water conditions.

To avoid unnecessarily long-distance transport of animals, the EU should help to create short and transparent food supply chains and take measures to halt the decline of small, local abattoirs and promote local processing, MEPs say.

This resolution is a response to the Commission’s assessment of existing rules, which have been in force since January 2007.

In March this year, the European Parliament adopted a written declaration calling for an eight-hour limit on the transport of animals for slaughter and many MEPs also signed a petition to this end.