Day: January 31, 2023

EU: AGRIFISH: Some Unprogressive Member States Try to go “Business as Usual” On Live Animal Transport.

AGRIFISH: some unprogressive Member States try to go “business as usual” on live animal transport

30 January 2023

While EFSA’s scientific opinions and citizens’ demands drive the conversation towards progress on animal welfare, some Member States don’t want to see serious restrictions on live animal transport in the new Transport Regulation. Luckily several voices call for ambitious change, not least the Commissioner’s.

During today’s Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRIFISH) several Member States supported an information note tabled by Portugal. The paper states that animal transport is an essential part of the food production chain, and that the primary objective of the upcoming revision of the Transport Regulation should be the continued facilitation of high welfare intra community trade and export of live animals, but not be focussed on measures aimed at prohibiting or limiting certain types of transport.

It’s a completely different scenario compared to July’s 2022 AGRIFISH, when 13 Member States called for an ambitious revision of the Transport Regulation including maximum journey times as well as a shift to a meat and carcass trade.

After the paper was published last week, the Intergroup on Animal Welfare sent an open letter to the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides, asking her to take into account the recommendations of the Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport (ANIT), and to ensure that the proposal, which is expected in October 2023, remains focused on alleviating the suffering of millions of animals due to long distance transports.  

Also, during today’s AGRIFISH there were several voices in the room calling for an ambitious revision: The Netherlands was the loudest, clearly opposing the paper and asking for a straightforward ban on live export. Germany, Austria, Denmark and Luxembourg opposed the paper too. 

“If science and experience tell us that certain practices in transport are detrimental to the welfare of animals, which could also pose a threat to animal health and consequently to human health, I believe and you would agree with me we must find ways to adjust those practices. Doing nothing is not an option. Change is necessary because animal welfare is a key component of our sustainable food production system”, concluded the meeting Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.

“Several Member States are backing citizens in their demands for the animals: cruel transport practices need to stop, specifically live export, as we have witnessed far too many tragedies at sea and on the road. It was good to hear even “opposing” Member States mentioning a trade in meat and carcasses, as this is the only way forward. And it was important to hear that the Commissioner was firm in her defence of the revision”, commented Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals. 

Regards Mark

New report explains urgent need to protect animals in disasters.

New report explains urgent need to protect animals in disasters

31 January 2023

Russia’s war in Ukraine in 2022 caused a myriad of challenges worldwide, but it also provided valuable lessons by highlighting what is missing for animals in the event of a disaster. Today, animals are not legally protected in disasters at EU level, although they play a vital role in people’s lives for economic and health reason

Animals in disasters: the need for protection and coordination across Europe

Browse the publication here:

Animals in disasters: the need for protection and coordination across Europe | Eurogroup for Animals

The imperative of protecting animals in disasters is underpinned by the human-animal bond, which influences human evacuation behaviour, the emotional support animals provide to people, the potential public health risks that disruption of health protocols can bring, and often the economic value of animals to humans. And as a result of the Ukrainian refugees crisis in 2022 by people’s willingness to save their animals in disasters. However, there is still little recognition among policymakers and humanitarian actors of the role that animals play in human life and in rebuilding communities after disaster.

Our new report suggests that the basis for the protection of animals in disasters is their legal inclusion in EU disaster law. It also outlines various actions that could be implemented by the EU and its Member States to better address the plight of animals in such circumstances. These include aligning efforts for people in disasters with those for animals, including animal welfare actors in a coordinated joint coordinated capacity during the disaster response phase, developing national disaster management plans involving animal experts, and establishing animal-friendly refugee camps in the EU, among many other initiatives. 

The experience of Ukrainian refugees bringing their companion animals with them has shown how much these animals are part of their families. Today, the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) is responsible for humanitarian assistance and civil protection in the European Union. Its main instrument – Union Civil Protection Mechanism – recognises in its recitals the need to “reduce the vulnerability of animal welfare and wildlife” as part of disaster risk prevention and management, but there is no obligation to cover animals in terms of protection. Recognising the vital role these animals play in people’s lives could provide a legal basis for DG ECHO to extend its protection efforts to companion animals as family members. Other categories of animals should also benefit from legal protection in the event of a disaster, the legal grounds for which should be examined. 

While achieving protection for all species in disasters remains a long term goal, the immediate solution lies in the legal inclusion of animals into disaster law in the EU with the aim of involving animal welfare actors in the development of disaster management plans, and in a coordinated disaster response mechanism in the EU. There is great potential for the EU, Member States and NGOs to work together to be better prepared for disasters in the long term.

Regards Mark

1/2/23 – Remembering Jill: