People are ‘very anxious’ about animal welfare standards during travel – O’Sullivan

An EU committee of inquiry on animal welfare standards during travel is expected to be given the go-ahead tomorrow.

It’s set to investigate alleged breaches of law, in relation to animal protection inside and outside the EU.

Speaking to Kevin Purcell on EuroParlRadio, Green Party MEP Grace O’Sullivan spoke of current “dissatisfaction” surrounding the transport of young calves.

She explained: “Young calves are being transported live to other countries. There [are] issues around the shielding of calves while they are in transit.

Many people are very dissatisfied with how this is happening and they are very anxious about it.

“The European Commission has acknowledged the concerns put forward by animal welfare groups and has promised to look at the whole issue of live animal transport,” she said.

‘Essential that standards are adhered to’

Mairead McGuinness – MEP and first Vice-President of the European Parliament – said yesterday that she expects that her fellow MEPs to ratify the establishment of the committee by the end of the week.

While highlighting the importance of live exports for Irish agriculture, McGuinness outlined: “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,” McGuinness explained.

“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.”