Approval for EU inquiry into animal welfare during transport

The European Parliament has approved a special committee of inquiry into the welfare of animals during transport. The vote took place today – Friday, June 19.

Calls for the inquiry came in the wake of concerns about the way animals are transported both within and outside of the EU.

The Fine Gael MEP and first Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mairead McGuinness, says that this is a “huge issue for Ireland and Irish farmers”.

Speaking to Karen Coleman on EuroParlRadio, McGuiness outlined the function of the committee, saying: “The committee is expected to investigate alleged breaches of regulations. It is in the interests of Ireland and its transporters that we absolutely comply with these regulations.”

She explained:

Many member states are not implementing these regulations. There will be a record taken of those member states who are complying. Those who are not complying will be forced to comply with the regulations.

“All of us stand for high animal welfare standards and the consumers do as well,” she said.

‘The EU sets high standards for animal transport’

In a previous interview with Coleman earlier on this week, McGuinness spoke of the importance of live exports for Irish agriculture.

She said:

The EU has set high standards for animal transport. It is essential that these standards are adhered to.

“Every year, millions of animals are transported across the EU and to non-EU countries to be bred, reared or slaughtered, as well as for competitions and the pet trade,” she noted.

“Between 2009 and 2015, the number of animals transported within the EU increased by 19% – from 1.25 billion to 1.49 billion.

“In February of last year, the European Parliament adopted a report on animal welfare calling for better enforcement, sanctions and reduced journey times.”

She added: “To protect animals exported to non-EU countries, MEPs voted for the introduction of bilateral agreements or a ban on the transport of live animals when national standards are not aligned with EU law.”