MEPs ‘ramp up’ efforts on protecting livestock during transport

The European Parliament has voted in favour of renewing the EU law on protecting livestock during transport.

It was outlined that the law is currently being poorly applied only in some of the EU states.

The MEPs agreed that unannounced and risk-based checks should be emphasised and tougher penalties should be imposed on people for non compliance.

Some of the suggestions from MEPs included minimising transport time and emphasis on transport of carcasses rather than live animals.

The Parliament made calls for the EU Commission to  impose penalties on member states that fail to apply EU rules correctly. Penalties mentioned included confiscating vehicles and compulsory retraining for staff.

The Parliament has called on national authorities to:
  • Carry out more unannounced and risk-based checks;
  • Inform authorities in all countries along the transport route if a breach is identified;
  • Suspend or withdraw a transporter’s license for repeat offenders;
  • Ban non-compliant vehicles and vessels;
  • Adapt ports to animal-welfare requirements and improve pre-loading checks.

MEPs also called for an update of EU rules on transport vehicles to ensure sufficient ventilation and temperature control, appropriate drinking and liquid feed systems, reduced stocking densities and vehicles adapted to the needs of each species of livestock.

MEPs support local, mobile or on-farm slaughter and meat-processing facilities close to the place of rearing with short distribution circuits and direct sales.

They have also called on the EU Commission to specify appropriate journey times for different species.

Development of a strategy to shift from live animal transport to transport of meat-and-carcass products, when possible should be promoted also, according to the MEPs.

Finally, MEPs have also insisted that unless transport standards in non-EU countries are aligned to EU ones and properly enforced, the EU should seek to mitigate the differences through agreements or ban transport of live animals to these countries.