Author Topic: Enough is enough' on live animal exports. UK 19.12.2012  (Read 940 times)

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Enough is enough' on live animal exports. UK 19.12.2012
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2012, 10:51:10 PM »
 The rules governing the transportation of live animals need strengthening and journey time is one of the major welfare issues that the EU must address, writes MEP
 
 Live exports of farm animals travelling for slaughter, often in cramped and dangerous conditions, is causing immense and completely unnecessary suffering, distress and even deaths. In October, 45 sheep were killed after being injured during their export from Ramsgate in Kent, in the United Kingdom. Last month a boat was forced to turn back two hours after leaving the port, having decided to set sail in gale force winds.
 
 
 Sheep height=215



Enough is enough. This has to stop. The Greens have been putting the issue on the European Union agenda for years, and now MEPs in Strasbourg have voted to improve welfare standards for live animals being transported across borders throughout the EU, and accepted the notion that animals for meat should be slaughtered locally where possible. But live exports from the UK will continue after the European Parliament rejected Green group proposals to set a clear eight-hour time limit on all such movements.
 
 Adoption of an unequivocal support for an eight-hour limit for all animals transported to slaughter would have put pressure on the European Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal for such a limit. In turn this would mean an end to the vast majority of UK live exports, where animals exported from Ramsgate and other UK ports currently have to endure long journeys, often in cramped and dangerous conditions.
 
 The vote on that issue is not the whole-hearted endorsement for animal welfare wanted by citizens. More than one million people have signed a petition calling for an eight-hour limit to be imposed, which was handed to then-European Commissioner John Dalli earlier this year as an example of citizen involvement in decision-making.
 
 The issue has been debated before by MEPs, and in 2011 a majority from a range of groups and nations signed a Written Declaration calling for an eight-hour transport time limit to be adopted. But, disappointingly, many MEPs who put their name to that declaration also supported text questioning the validity of that time limit, reducing pressure on the commission to act decisively.
 
 The parliament's position will now pass to the commission for its consideration, but the vote is unlikely to lead to an immediate change in the law, so we need to keep the pressure on. Even though the vote did not go as far as Greens believe was necessary, the report is at least a step in the right direction. It sends a strong message that we need to strengthen EU rules on limiting animal transport to give greater attention to animal welfare concerns, and clearly the actual journey time is one of the major animal welfare issues.
 
 Jean Lambert MEP is a member of the Greens group in the European Parliament and represents London in the United Kingdom