This was an e mail sent to me on 27/5/19 by the EU Commission regarding a recent gripe I made that live animal transports across the EU, and to nations such as Turkey, from existing EU member states, were not being enforced in accordance with EU Regulation 1/2005 for the welfare of animals during transport. Here is what they said to me in response:
Dear Mr Johnson,
Regarding the enforcement of Regulation 1/2005 on animal transport, you should be aware that the control and enforcement is – with very few exceptions, such as EU competition law – a matter for the Member States. In the area of animal transport, however, the Commission does do audits of Member State inspection systems (“inspect the inspectors”). The resulting audit reports lead to recommendations which, in turn, are followed-up by the Commission. If you are interested in these audit reports, they are all publicly available here: http://ec.europa.eu/food/audits-analysis/audit_reports/index.cfm
As of the withdrawal of the UK, the EU rules on animal transport will cease to apply to the UK. However, these rules will still impact the transport of live animals between the EU and the UK, for example the mandatory check of live animals – including as regards the control of animal welfare aspects – upon entry into the EU at “border inspection posts”.
Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations
with the United Kingdom under Article 50 TEU (GDR)
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I think, as someone who has investigated live animal transport over the past 25+ years; I am fully aware of the legislative situation within the EU and the fact that they want to ‘pass the buck’ for Regulation enforcement to each individual member state. This is one way to approach it; but if nations such as Romania act the way they do with stray animals, then are we to expect anything better from them when it comes to enforcing the rules for live animal transport ? – they don’t really care much about animal welfare; full stop. So by passing responsibility for enforcement from the Commission in Brussels to individual nations, is rather like the national fire officer putting the arsonist as the chief of the local fire station ! – it kind of does not work.
What exactly do the EU mean by the words ‘audit reports lead to recommendations, which in turn are followed up by the Commission’ ?
This in my opinion is where the EU totally falls down over regulations. It is all very ‘recommend and suggest’; rather than hitting member states hard and directly for their failures of the enforcement of EU rules. We don’t want to have to wait another 3 years for a follow up to what was found to be wrong; only to find that the rules are still not being enforced. I personally say no second chances; strike whilst the iron is hot – hit hard with prosecutions when the problems are first reared.
I will show you investigations undertaken years ago by animal welfare organisations. Today, 2019, what exactly has changed since the investigations were undertaken originally between 2010 and 2015 ? – not much, if anything.
Have we not seen countless investigations showing where the EU regulations are being flouted for the live animals being exported to Turkey ? – as the following video says, 352 livestock transporters were inspected and 247 were found to be in violation of existing EU regulations (1/2005 on the welfare of animals during transport).
Have a look for yourselves:
It is not just live animals from the EU to Turkey – similar things are happening every day right across the EU. Existing EU Regulations are not being enforced.
The following can be found on this link:
Brussels, Belgium (EU) 15 March 2012: The European Parliament adopted Written Declaration 49/2011 on the establishment of a maximum 8-hour journey limit for animals transported in the European Union for the purpose of being slaughtered.
378 (half of the total number of MEPs plus one) was the number required for the Written Declaration to become an official position of the Parliament, and this number was reached one day in advance.
The document, which “calls on the Commission and the Council to review Regulation 1/2005 to establish a maximum 8-hour limit for the journeys of animals transported for the purpose of being slaughtered“, will now be transmitted to the European Commission and the governments of the Member States.
This document directly refers to over one million signatures registered on the www.8hours.eu website. This massive mobilisation of European citizens is calling for an end to long-distance journeys for animals sent for slaughter in the European Union.
The long duration of the journeys of animals destined for slaughter in the EU often causes them intense suffering, as has been consistently reported over the years by Animals’ Angels investigators. Current EU legislation makes it possible for animals to be transported for several days, even though it is scientifically proven and acknowledged by the Commission that the suffering of the animals increases with the duration of the journey.
“This is a historic moment for all those who care about animals. The call of one million citizens cannot be easily ignored by the EU institutions” – said Christa Blanke, Founder of Animals’ Angels. “But this is just a fundamental milestone in a campaign that will end only when long-distance journeys of animals sent for slaughter are banned in the EU. We have been documenting the suffering caused by animal transports around Europe over many years, and we have seen that all improvements of transport rules are insufficient if long-distance journeys continue to be allowed”.
“In reality what goes on today on the European roads is animal cruelty. This has to be stopped. The European Commission has so far disregarded the demand for new rules for animal transports.
But it will be difficult for the Commission to ignore the demands of the European Parliament, which joins over one million citizens asking for long-distance live transports to stop” – said Danish MEP Dan Jørgensen, and adds: “I have made the signal to the responsible commissioner for animal welfare, John Dalli, many times, that the rules for animal transports need to be changed. Unfortunately he does not see the need to respond properly to this call.
But he is wrong, and he should act now. If not he will have to explain to the European parliament and to EU citizens why he insists on letting this cruelty go on”.
“We live in the 21st century in a society which we became used to calling a humane society. It is time to prove it” – said Czech MEP Pavel Poc, one of the promoters of Written Declaration 49/2011. “I am glad that the European Parliament took on the challenge by adopting this written declaration. An adopted declaration might still be far away from real actions and needed changes, but it is a significant message and I hope that all these initiatives will together create a strong enough pressure for the much needed policy change.”
Written Declaration 49/2011 and the collection of one million signatures from EU citizens are part of a larger campaign (www.8hours.eu) calling for a maximum overall 8-hour limit for journeys of animals sent for slaughter. The campaign is also supported by 126 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from 19 member states and all political groups.
See a recent video of animals being transported from the EU to Turkey on YouTube.
See the text of Written Declaration 49/2011 on the European Parliament’s website
So, I close by asking the following:
- 15 March 2012: The European Parliament adopted Written Declaration 49/2011 on the establishment of a maximum 8-hour journey limit for animals transported in the European Union for the purpose of being slaughtered. Why, 7 years later, are we still NOT having a max 8 hour limit, but still working to the 2005 regulation 1/2005 ?
- We had EU elections last week (23-26/5/19) to vote for new members of the European Parliament. Ie those who adopted the written declaration above which is still not in actions 7 years later.
- Why are the EU Commissioners who should be doing something about this and the will of EU citizens and the EU Parliament, not doing anything to introduce new legislation ?
- We often talk about the ‘meat mafia’. The situation is a David and Goliath thing – and the welfare lobby is very much the ‘David’. Is the meat mafia doing things with our EU representatives in the Commission to ensure that the will of the Parliament and the EU citizens are NOT enforced ?
- Finally; EU Commissioners SHOULD act in their positions without being influenced by outside parties – https://ec.europa.eu/info/about-european-commission/service-standards-and-principles/codes-conduct/ethics-and-integrity-eu-commissioners/code-conduct-members-european-commission_en and https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/treaty/tfeu_2016/art_245/oj – so, why, after the Written Declaration for an 8 hour limit on animal journey times was adopted by the EU Parliament on 15 March 2012, are we in mid 2019 still not witnessing the legislation being enforced ? – seems to me like Goliath is getting his way with the Commission, and David, regardless of electing EU parliamentarians in May 2019; really means nothing !!