Conflict between long-distance transport and EU social legislation must be outlawed
Posted on 11/10/2012
Eurogroup for Animals calls on the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee to reject long-distance transport of live animals when it votes on the Report prepared by Janusz Wojciechowski MEP. This comes in light of a new report published recently which compares current transport times of livestock with the EU social law on drivers’ hours. The research shows that both laws are incompatible and that if the mandatory application of the social legislation governing lorry drivers is applied only multi-manning with three drivers will allow a journey to be compliant with the regulations.
Eurogroup therefore calls on the European Parliament to act now and ensure that both road safety and the welfare of animals are respected and the inconsistencies in current legislation are addressed. The European Union has had legislation in place to regulate the protection of farm animals in transit either to another farm for fattening or to the slaughterhouse since 1977. No other EU protection law has been so controversial and ineffective, with widespread problems of enforcement and lack of compliance which result in continued animal suffering. The European Commissioner in charge of animal welfare has repeated several times that he has no intention of reviewing the Transport Directive but with this evidence, a change is needed or no long distance transport should be authorised
More animals are transported than ever and the number of consignments has greatly increased, looking at the transport of pigs alone we see an increase of 70% today compared to 2005. This increase in transport volume goes against the European Food Safety Authority’s scientific advice, published in January 2011 which clearly stated that we “reduce the volume of transport and long distance transport of animals for finishing or slaughter or reducing journey times”.
Commenting before the Committee’s vote in Brussels Dr Michel Courat, Policy Officer - Farm Animals at Eurogroup for Animals stated: “We are pleased that after years of providing evidence about illegal transport, it is finally acknowledged that there are widespread problems of compliance. But in addition to animal suffering, the research highlights the illegality of many long distance transports. This not only affects animals but puts human safety at risk and the European Parliament must act to address this immediately.”
“We are extremely grateful to Dr Rabitsch and Dr Wessely for the work they have done. It is unbelievable that the European Commission has not acted to ensure that these two pieces of legislation are compatible. The European Parliament now has an opportunity to put pressure on the Commission to act and help the millions of animals that are being transported illegally every year,” he concluded
Eurogroup calls for the introduction of an overall journey time limit which will end overly long journeys. Transport conditions must also be dramatically improved and modern technology, such as satellite navigation systems, introduced if authorities are to control movements in real time effectively.