cow in truck

Eight Member States seek to blunt the ambition of EU new laws on animal welfare 

Animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS alarmed calling on EU Agricultural Ministers to stop suffering of livestock


At this month's EU Agriculture and Fisheries ministers meeting eight EU Member States, led by the Portuguese delegation, have proposed key reforms on the animal transport legislation.  

The letter calls for a continuation of live animal exports within and outside the EU instead of supporting a shift to further developing the use of a cold chain and export of meat and carcasses rather than live animals. Other recommendations also include the need for the improvement of transport conditions, as well as planning and contingency plans. 

Commenting on the paper from Portugal, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania, due to be debated at the next Agriculture & Fisheries Council on 30th January, and which flies in the face of public demands to reduce live animal transport and stop live exports from the EU altogether, Joe Moran, Director of European Policy Office at FOUR PAWS said: “The positions expressed in this paper are utterly disappointing. At a time when citizens across our European Union expect ambitious proposals on animal welfare – including on regulating live transport – we see a move from some to continue with the same broken system that has been shown to have failed time and time again. Newspaper columns, online media reports and social media timelines have been full of proof of the failings of transporting animals long distances, via road and by sea, and yet these Member States seek to sacrifice the wishes of citizens on the alter of economic expediency. 

“For over 40 years policy makers in Brussels have grappled with how best to manage the trade in animals. “Improving” live transport has proven to be futile. Only an ambitious reform on the rules of live animal transport and a ban on live export will make a difference. 

“Luckily other Member States, the Commission and many MEPs recognise this. We hope that others will continue to press for proper journey limits, an end to live exports and a shift to a trade in meat and carcasses in lieu of the feeble proposals presented in this paper”  


Morgane Speeckaert

Morgane Speeckaert

EU Communications Coordinator

+39 331 365 4110

Rue Ducale 29, 1000 Brussels


European Policy Office

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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