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European Commission - Press release

Animal welfare: Protection during transport improved but more needs to be done, Commission report concludes

Brussels, 10 November 2011 –The protection of animals during transport has improved since the pertinent regulation (Regulation (EC) No. 1/2005) was applied on 1 January 2007, a European Commission report concludes. But the report also highlights a series of problems hampering further improvement in the transport conditions of these animals.

"The findings of this report clearly demonstrate the benefits of action at EU level for important issues such as animal welfare," Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner, John Dalli, said. "Nevertheless, the report also documents the need for improvement, in particular in enforcing existing legislation. The Commission will, therefore propose a series of concrete actions to further improve the conditions for animals during transport".

To conclude:

"Despite demands from some stakeholders to amend the Regulation, the Commission considers the achievement of a higher level of enforcement within a stable legal framework to be a greater priority."

Main findings

The Report examines the impact of the Regulation on animal welfare, a comparison of the situation before and after its application.

This comparison revealed that the overall quality of animal transport has improved mainly because of improved transport vehicles and a better awareness of the needs of animals by the people involved.

The improvements relate primarily to long journeys.

Problems

Despite the improvements, the Commission regularly receives reports from animal welfare organisations, showing that severe welfare problems during transport persist. This correlates with the findings of the Commission's own inspections, performed by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO).

The report highlights at least three important shortcomings:

  • the poor enforcement of legislation;

  • market distortions created by the divergent interpretations of the rules;

  • the potential of the navigation system has not been fully exploited.

Suggested action

To address these problems, communication and information sharing with all stakeholders is of paramount importance. The Commission envisages also a series of measures that would improve the enforcement of rules and increase animal welfare during transport.

As enforcement is mainly the responsibility of the Member States, Commission actions will aim at optimizing the checks carried out by the competent authorities. These will include the preparation of Commission implementing measures to enhance the use and performance of navigation systems and to increase administrative efficiency.

The Commission also plans to increase the number of inspections in the Member States carried out by its Food and Veterinary Office (FVO).

This is particularly important as every year more than 35.000.000 (cattle, pigs, sheep, horses, calves) animals are transported between Member States, and to and from third countries, due to trade and market opportunities, limited slaughter or processing capacity and the differences between the production and consumption of meat in some Member States.

The EU has had rules governing animal welfare during transport since 1977.1

For more information please visit:

http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/welfare/transport/index_en.htm

Contacts :

Frédéric Vincent (+32 2 298 71 66)

Aikaterini Apostola (+32 2 298 76 24)

1 :

Council Directive 77/489/EEC of 18 July 1977 on the rules on the protection of animals during international transport; O J L 200, 8.8.1977, p. 10-16.


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