The result of today’s (January 20) animal-transport vote in the European Parliament has been welcomed by Fine Gael MEP, Colm Markey, who said that “common sense had prevailed”.

His comments came following MEPs’ move to reject stricter proposals from the parliament’s Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals During Transport relating to the movement of live animals.

MEPs, instead, accepted two amendments to the committee’s proposals.

The first accepted amendment will see a reduction in the minimum age of transport of unweaned animals from 35 to 28 days, and will allow transport below this age for journeys of fewer than 50km.

While the second amendment will allow transport of pregnant animals in the last third of gestation for a maximum of four hours.

The Midlands North West MEP and substitute member of the Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport, said Parliament had taken a pragmatic approach.

“The measures proposed would have effectively banned the transport of unweaned animals under 35 days’ and put a maximum journey time of two hours for unweaned animals over 35 days’.

“This would have caused huge problems, particularly if farmers were forced to move calves to holding centres.

He reiterated his support for measures to clamp down on those not obeying the animal-transport rules and said he believes the use of technology will play a huge part in dealing with non-compliance.

“Some of the measures in the overall report will prove challenging but can be dealt with.

“Ireland’s track record on animal welfare during transport was widely praised during the committee hearings and I believe farmers are willing to play their part in ensuring that those standards remain high,” he said.