WAV Comment – when it comes to the enforcement of EU animal welfare regulations, the EU is basically a chocolate fireman, melting away with do nothings, but putting out press statements which, if you are not involved with EU ‘ways’, would lead the normal person to think that they are on top of the situation. Believe us, when it comes to live animal transport, the EU never has, is currently not, and never will be able to enforce its own slapdash Regulation 1/2005, on the ‘protection of animals during transport’. The regulation is a simple, formal EU smokescreen which all its officials and Commissioners can hide within whilst the reality is that the abuse and suffering of animals in transport continues within the EU (and globally) on a daily basis.
‘After the serious violations of the EU Regulation 1/2005 (Transport Regulation) by Romania in sending nearly 70,000 sheep to the Persian Gulf last summer, an audit by DG Sante has found that the country’s central competent authority did not provide the necessary information, instructions or access to suitably qualified staff to support official veterinarians in checking the technical requirements of livestock vessels’.
So what is actually new here ? – DG Sante investigations now finding out what EU animal welfare organisations have been telling, and showing (with undercover investigations) for the last 25 years or more.
The real question now is ‘what are the EU going to do about it all ?’. We think the response from the EU will be a fairly simple one – ‘nothing really’.
And now at a time when the Coronavirus can be used as an excuse, not a reason, for not taking action. Actions; if there ever were any, by the EU have probably been put back at least another year or more regarding live animal transport (fortunately for the EU) due to a virus called ‘Coronavirus’. And yes, Cornavirus appears to have originated in animal wet markets in China due to the non enforcement of regulations by the Chinese authorities. Spot the link ? – we can.
So now are we going to witness Bernard Van Goethem (pictured above) – DG Sante section ‘G’ – ‘Crisis management in food, animals and plants’ actually step up to the plate and do something; or is he going to do his usual, of waving his arms in the air whilst making statements about not being able to do anything !
We know a little about his ineffectiveness; and have had personal interactions with him in the past:
We don’t ask for your money, never have done and never will. We don’t ask for your cash to undertake yet more investigations to gather evidence which as a result, is continually ignored by the EU ‘chocolate brigade’ under the smokescreen of Reg 1/2005.
We don’t need yet more supporter funds to keep on gathering information which forever results in nothing from the EU; we have had experience of this filthy trade for over 30 years; and we know how it works. If legislators cannot enforce the legislation; then possibly it needs a virus to shut the entire system down and make them think what they are going to do next.
A ban on live animal transport throughout the EU by the EU regulators would be more than welcome; but then we have the national financial implications, the meat mafia and the meat lobbyists to contend with. Then again, the huge downturn in milk consumption, combined with the massive decline in meat eating – one could say that the industry is doing a pretty good job in killing itself, without the need for presenting further evidence to the ‘do nothing’ officials at the EU.
Lets now await what action the EU takes with regard to EU member state Romania and the non enforcement of EU Regulation 1/2005 for the ‘protection of’ animals during transport.
Sadly, I think I will be holding my breath for a long time !
But, we keep on fighting;
DG SANTE audit reveals major problems with live export from Romania
27 April 2020
After the serious violations of the EU Regulation 1/2005 (Transport Regulation) by Romania in sending nearly 70,000 sheep to the Persian Gulf last summer, an audit by DG Sante has found that the country’s central competent authority did not provide the necessary information, instructions or access to suitably qualified staff to support official veterinarians in checking the technical requirements of livestock vessels. Eurogroup for Animals urges the EU Commission to start infringement proceedings against Romania.
The lack of proper checks translated into animals transported alive with inadequate equipment to ensure their welfare during transport, and on a vessel with serious structural problems. Worryingly, this is likely to have affected many more animals: as highlighted in the report, the authority in one port inspected by DG SANTE is responsible for the approval of 43 of the 79 (56%) livestock vessels approved by the Member States, so “there is a distinct possibility that animal welfare issues arise during sea transport on board these vessels”.
Indeed, past investigations have shown that during such voyages, heat and humidity combinations reach levels that cause heat stroke, resulting in animals literally cooking alive in the holds of vessels. Eurogroup for Animals’ member organisation Animals International, who were following this particular 2019 Romanian shipment’s progress last summer, found the vessel stopping at Gulf ports in temperatures of 47°C.
Auditors tasked with assessing the level of enforcement of the Transport Regulation at the Romanian port also found that there is a general lack of records in the system of controls to ensure animal welfare during transport by sea to non-EU countries. There is no evidence of checks confirming that the animals are fit to continue the journey, or of the adequacy of vessels’ drainage systems. Given the absence of documented procedures, records and support to official veterinarians in checking vessels, auditors concluded that “there is little assurance of the effectiveness of most controls carried out”.
“We welcome the decision of the European Commission to carry out an audit after the tragedy of last summer, and given the results, Romania should stay under strict scrutiny,” says Reineke Hameleers, CEO at Eurogroup for Animals. “Now we call on the Commission to start infringement proceedings against Romania and to start the process of a revision of the Transport Regulation to limit the duration of journeys and end these horrific sea transports for good”.
We (WAV) covered this shipment of sheep from Romania to the Middle East every day; providing updates of ship positions, temperatures and ports used if applicable. Here are a few links to just a few of our posts so that you can see what we undertook.
Regards to all – Mark.