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.