Technology, not more regulation, could be enough to deal with breaches of the current EU rules on live animal transportation, according to the European Commission.

The comments came during an exchange of views with the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety at the European Parliament’s Animal Transport Committee this week.

Although Ireland’s track record on animal welfare during transport has been widely praised during the hearings, concerns have been raised about non-compliance by some operators in other member states.

Consistency on the current standards

Midlands-north west MEP Colm Markey asked the commission at the committee meeting for its views on technology as a solution.

“We have seen in previous presentations mentions of CCTV, GPS, temperature monitoring, wearable technologies and data collection,” the MEP said.

“It’s a priority to get consistency on the current standards, rather than set newer higher standards when the current ones are not being complied with. These technological solutions could be very beneficial.”

In response, Andrea Gavinelli from the commission suggested that enough instruments are available to improve the wellbeing of animals during transport.

Better enforcing the existing rules

The commission’s Ana Ramirez Vela noted that all companies already have GPS on their trucks but some are not sharing data with the competent authorities and it’s “particularly problematic for retrospective checks”.

She added that there is no reason for not having access to live data.

Speaking afterwards, Markey said: “I strongly believe that the solution to the problems we are seeing can be solved by better enforcing the existing rules.

“Technology, such as data collection and monitoring, could play a major part and should be examined further before contemplating increased regulation.”

Views sought on welfare during animal transport

Meanwhile, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is gathering the views of stakeholders on the welfare of animals during transport in the EU.

The EFSA is in the early stages of a scientific assessment of the matter, an assessment that will support the European Commission’s current review of animal welfare legislation.