ICOS has described amendments to proposed new EU animal transport rules as both “realistic” and “practical”.
The EU Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transit (ANIT) initiated and debated the proposed new rules.
The finalised proposals will now go forward in a report to the EU Commission.
If approved, they could be in place by the end of next year.
ICOS said the ANIT report would inform the ongoing European Commission review of current legislation.
It expects new legislation on Animal Welfare during transport to be proposed by the Commission in 2023. The European Parliament and EU countries will have a “further say”.
MEPs on the committee voted to reduce a proposed age limit to transport unweaned calves, from 35 days to 28 days.
Furthermore, they also amended a potential outright ban on the transport of animals in the last third of gestation to allow transport for up to four hours.
EU animal transport rules
In a statement on Thursday, January 20th, 2022, Ray Doyle, Environment and Livestock Executive of ICOS, said:
“The Irish calf export trade is an essential part of our dairy sector where very high-quality calves are produced to high standards of animal welfare and husbandry and are transported by responsible and caring operators.”
“The original 35-day proposed limit would have had a seriously detrimental impact on the Irish calf export trade, which underpins the economic viability and livelihood of dairy farms which collectively produce over 150,000 calves for export each year.”
“The amended proposals are more realistic and practical in nature. These amendments represent flexibilities, which we campaigned for.”
“Also, we acknowledge the work of Irish MEPs Billy Kelleher and Colm Markey. They represented the best interests of Irish dairy farming in promoting the amendments within the ANIT Committee.”
However, he warned that this is not an end; it is only the beginning. He said everyone understands that animal welfare is a top priority.
Therefore, he believes we must all work together to ensure the high standards we have are “preserved and enhanced” for the future.
“This, in turn, enables us to seek fair and reasonable regulation which reflects the reality of our high-quality dairy system.“
“These high standards must be replicated consistently across Europe. Each member state has a significant obligation in this regard, hence the EU Parliament’s concern and emphasis on these issues,” he concluded.