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ANIT adopts report and recommendations on live animal transport: FOUR PAWS calls on Parliament to strengthen recommendations in plenary

The Committee of Inquiry on Animal Transport (ANIT) in the European Parliament voted on the report describing the systemic problems with live animal transport within and outside the European Union and draft recommendations that will be voted on in plenary. The documents already address first important aspects, but more ambition is needed.


Brussels, 2.12.2021 – The report and the draft recommendations describe problems and concerns that have existed for decades in the implementation and control, but also with the Regulation 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport itself. During today’s first voting session, several amendments were passed that included first steps to address important demands that animal welfare NGOs have made in the past. “The amendments include demands for a ban on transport for unweaned animals younger than five weeks and pregnant animals in the last third of gestation, as well as a limit of eight hours for transport to slaughter. This is a step in the right direction, but many important points are still missing” says Pierre Sultana, Director of the European policy Office at FOUR PAWS.  “Still, both, the recommendations and the report do recognize the urgent need for action in many areas. Especially the recommendations call for both, stricter rules and better enforcement of those rules”.

The ANIT committee highlights not only the problems with enforcing the current regulations, but also brings attention to poorly worded legislation that needs to be adapted and improved in the future. Report and recommendations not only called for the ban on transport for unweaned and vulnerable animals and highly pregnant animals, but also for a limit of journey time to four hours for poultry and rabbits.

“While we agree with some of the included points and were delighted to see the addition of today’s amendments, we do not think that the documents are going far enough. What we need is a ban of live animal exports and of all transports via sea as well as a limit of the journey time of all transports to eight hours. The EU must implement species specific requirements regarding journey duration and outside temperature. Further, a general prohibition for transport of unweand calves beyond 5 weeks is called for.  These matters must be addressed in plenary to set a cornerstone for a strong revision of transport legislation. ”

Over the last 18 months, the members of the ANIT looked at various concerns and problems occurring during or in relation to the transport of live animals and investigated alleged infringements and violations of the European Union laws on the protection of animals during transport. In hearings with experts from NGOs, the transport industry, veterinarians and many more also by field visits to several EU countries, the members saw first-hand, the suffering and welfare concerns that arise due to violations of the transport regulation, but also due to the lack of legal framework in many areas.

“Tragedies during transport are sadly not an exception but a regular occurrence. While the ANIT was ongoing, two vessels were stuck at sea for almost three months and all of the animals on board had to be killed, many vessels carrying live animals were stuck for days when a ship blocked the Suez Canal and due to boarder closures due to COVID-19, trucks transporting livestock were delayed by hours or even days. We can no longer treat live animals as commodities and this report and the recommendations are the first of many steps to finally put an end to this. They did however not sufficiently address the issue of exports to third countries and transport via sea and we now urge the European Parliament to vote for stronger recommendations in January and hope that the European Commission will follow this call to action in its revision of 01/2005”

FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in twelve countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. 

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