MEPs have urged a move from live animal (cattle) exports to meat and carcass transport.
That is one of the recommendations contained in the ANIT committee’s report, which MEPs voted in favour of this week.
In a statement, they said they advocate a “transition to a more efficient and ethical system” that favours the transport of semen or embryos over breeding stock and carcasses and meat over animals being moved for slaughter.
They have called on the commission to “urgently” present, no later than 2023, an action plan to “support this transition”.
They believe it must include a proposal on a “specific fund” to minimise the socio-economic impacts of the changes that “need to be made”.
Live cattle exports
MEPs on the ANIT committee approved a set of draft recommendations by 24 votes to 1, with 5 abstentions on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021.
After 18 months of “fact-finding”, parliament’s committee of inquiry into the protection of animals during transport adopted its conclusions and the above recommendations this week.
Parliament‘s inquiry into the protection of animals during transport (the ANIT committee) was established in June 2020.
Its primary aim was to investigate alleged violations of EU rules, and as a result, it wrapped up its work on Thursday.
MEPS passed two amendments:
- A ban on the transport of pregnant animals in the last third of gestation;
- Time limits of two hours for unweaned animals older than 35 days. A ban on all transport under 35 days.
Findings and violations
MEPs gathered information from citizens and NGOs on animal welfare violations during transport.
These violations, the report listed, included:
- A lack of headroom, water or food supply;
- The shipping of animals being unfit for transport;
- The use of inappropriate vehicles;
- Transport during extreme temperatures;
- Extended journey times.
The report, elaborating the main findings of the investigation, was adopted by 30 votes in favour and one abstention.
The committee concluded that EU provisions in this area “are not always complied with within member states”.
Also, it found that they “do not fully take into account the different transport needs of animals”.
The group added that EU rules on animal transport are “outdated, misleading and poorly enforced”.
The report outlined that the EU needs to “step-up efforts” in respecting animal welfare during transport.
The report contains several recommendations, including CCTV cameras, proper temperature, and the ban mentioned above on transporting very young animals.
In a statement following the vote, a spokesperson said:
“MEPs want CCTV cameras on transport vehicles, especially for loading and unloading operations, to safeguard operators who comply with the rules.”
“New rules should introduce temperature, humidity and ammonia recording devices in vehicles.”
They also ask national authorities to approve animal travel plans only if the forecasted temperature is between 5ºC and 30ºC.
MEPs also urged the commission to establish journey time limits covering all animal species and ages.
It stated that the transport of unweaned animals over the age of 35 days “should be avoided and allowed only in cases where the journey is under two hours”.
There is no control system in place, MEPs claimed, for the transport of animals to non-EU countries.
They have demanded member states inspect all consignments to non-EU countries, with a special focus on the access of animals to feed and water, the functioning of drinking devices, and the space and headroom for the animals.
“Live animal export should be approved only if it complies with European animal welfare standards,” the report stated.
The full house is to discuss both documents and vote on the draft recommendations at the Strasbourg plenary session in January 2022.